Tag:Gabriel Landeskog
Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:29 am
Edited on: March 1, 2012 11:39 am
 

NHL Award Races: Calder close, Norris not so much

The top two draft picks are in it. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Welcome to Award Races. For every week the remainder of the season, we will break down two of the awards races at a time and see how they are stacking up as the NHL season hits the home stretch.

We began our Award Races last week by looking at -- in my opinion -- the two most prestigious in the Hart Trophy and the Vezina. One of those races (Vezina) has a clear front-runner then a tight fight for runner-up. The other (Hart) is very tight and will be a battle to the end.

That seems to be what we're talking about this week too, only with the Norris Trophy and Calder. Let's start with the Norris.

At this point, Erik Karlsson seems like a shoe-in for the award. He has taken the points lead and laughed at the rest of the league's defensemen, doing circles around them. He's 23 points ahead of the second highest-scoring defenseman, Brian Campbell. Seriously, he's tied with Henrik Sedin and Joffrey Lupul for sixth in points among all skaters.

Part of the equation that goes into the Norris obviously is how good you are on defense too, it can't be all about offense. But maybe this time it can be, when a guy is just that much more dominant in that regard than the rest of the field. And it's not like Karlsson is completely defenseless. He might not be as good in his own zone as some of the others on this list, but he's responsible enough to garner more than 25 minutes a game in ice time.

So that one is pretty clear. The Calder going to the top rookie? Now this is a race.

At the midpoint of the season it seemed like it was in the bag for last year's No. 1 overall draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to take the award. Well he's still in the conversation, but he's been joined by others ... and overtaken.

The comments on the second overall pick Gabriel Landeskog's scouting report were promising for instant production. He was seen by most everybody as the most NHL-read prospect in the draft. He has good size already and is a mature player. So his ceiling wasn't believed to be incredibly high, the production was thought to be very good and consistent.

It might have taken him a little while, but now he's showing all of that. Check this out: With the Avalanche making a move to get back into the heart of the playoff race, Landeskog has been great of late. In the last five games he has four goals and four assists while averaging close to 20 minutes a night. Not bad for your first playoff race.

But he has some stiff competition that isn't far behind him at all.

Remember, this is just one man's opinion and there are sure to be disagreements. Feel free to share your thoughts (I know you won't disappoint there).

Award watch
Norris Calder
Erik Karlsson The Ottawa Senators have been the biggest surprise this season and Karlsson has been the biggest surprise for them. In addition to lapping the field in total points, he's also first among defensemen with 15 goals. The offense is just too overwhelming to ignore in his case. Gabriel Landeskog Knowing full well it is not the be-all, end-all of stats in hockey, especially today when advanced metrics are becoming more prevalent, but Landeskog has an impressive plus-22 on the season. That's 13th best in the league. Note: The Avs as a team are minus-5 this season. That has to say something.
Shea Weber Arguably the top all-around defenseman in the game, Weber is a perennial contender for this award, especially as long as he remains in Nashville with Barry Trotz. He's physical and responsible in his own end, explosive and dangerous in the offensive end. There's a reason (lots of them) teams would like to see him in free agency. Adam Henrique He exploded on the scene earlier this season playing with Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise in what became one of the better lines in the entire league. But he has cooled down, scoring just two goals and racking up five assists since Jan. 11. His slip combined with Landeskog's surge puts him here.
Nicklas Lidstrom The 41-year-old has won this award seven times. At age 41, he's going to be hard pressed to win an eighth, but that doesn't mean he isn't having a heck of a season. He's still a huge part of what the Red Wings do and is a quintessential two-way defenseman. It's hard to believe he's his age with how he plays. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Injuries have derailed his hopes here, to be sure. Points-per-game wise, he's the best among rookies with 15 goals and 23 assists in 43 games. But the fact that he played one game in January and then missed a few weeks in the middle of February has hurt his chances. He has come back with two goals and an assist in the last three, though.
Brian Campbell Without Campbell, there's no telling where Florida would be in the standings. He was the big acquisition of the summer by Dale Tallon and he's found his comfort zone after a scrutinizing time in Chicago. He is second among dmen in points and routinely plays close to 30 minutes a game for the Panthers. Matt Read Of all the rookies playing in Philadelphia this season -- and there are a lot -- Read has been the best, and probably the most surprising. The 25-year-old has 16 goals with 19 assists playing multiple roles for the Flyers. He also has only four minor penalties on the season with no majors. That counts for something.
Ryan Suter Still a bit overshadowed by his teammate Weber in Nashville, Suter is obviously no slouch. He'll be the most coveted free agent this summer if the Predators can't re-sign him. Like Weber he's a good two-way player who isn't as threatening in the offensive zone but can score. He has seven goals and 30 assists. Cody Hodgson He could be a dark horse in this race with his recent trade to the Sabres. In Vancouver he wasn't getting a lot of ice time being stuck between Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler but being in Buffalo could give him a shot to flourish. He has a good starting point with 16 goals and 17 assists despite averaging just 12:44 of ice time per game for the Canucks.

And for a quick look at the rest of the races we'll be checking in on every week.

Hart: Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Lundqvist, Claude Giroux

Vezina: Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Brian Elliott

Jack Adams: Ken Hitchcock, Paul MacLean, John Tortorella

Selke: Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Kesler, Pavel Datsyuk

Top GM: Dale Tallon, Don Maloney, David Poile

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 9:16 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 9:20 am
 

Morning Skate: close to a must win for Ducks, Avs

Ducks

By: Adam Gretz


The Morning Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Playoff Race

DucksAvalanche9 PM, Anaheim vs. Colorado

All eyes will be on the NHL trade deadline on Monday, but it's also a huge day in the NHL playoff race.

It's hard to say a game at this point in the season is a "must win" for any team, but if the Anaheim Ducks are going to find a way to pull off this miraculous comeback (and that's really what it would be) to make the playoffs they're going to have to win games like this, against one of the many teams they're still chasing. Preferably in regulation. The Ducks enter Monday's game in Colorado four points behind the Avalanche in the standings, and still six points behind Dallas for the No. 8 (and final) playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Anaheim is coming off yet another win on Sunday night, knocking off the Blackhawks by a 3-1 margin, and have won seven of its past 10 games. Despite all of the Ducks wins over the past month-and-a-half it's been difficult for them to gain any significant ground or move up in the standings. With a win on Monday the Ducks can jump ahead of the Minnesota Wild to move into 12th place in the West.

It's still going to take a ton of work, and Monday's game is one of the big ones.

It's also a big game for the Avs, who also remain in the jumbled mess that is the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race, and a win could move them into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot.

PredatorsKings8 PM, Los Angeles vs. Nashville

Another team that could move into a tie on Monday night? The Los Angeles Kings, fresh off their 4-0 win on Saturday night in what was Jeff Carter's debut with the club. He didn't make an impact on the scoreboard, but Dustin Brown stepped up after his name was mentioned in trade rumors, recording a hat trick and a four-point game.

It was only the fourth time in their past 17 games that the Kings, the lowest-scoring team in the league, scored more than three goals in a single game. So that was a bit of a rarity, and perhaps a sign that the addition of Carter, a top goal-scorer in the NHL over the past few years, can open some things up for other players on the team. If nothing else, it was a nice start.

It's going to get a bit tougher on Monday night as they head into Nashville to face Pekka Rinne and the always stout Predators defense, and a team that's still fighting for potential home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

This is also the first of three meetings for these teams over the next three weeks. So they better get familiar with one another.

BluesFlames9 PM, St. Louis at Calgary

After losing four of their past five, including a shootout loss against Philadelphia on Saturday, a game that saw them blow a 3-0 lead, the Calgary Flames could really use a win on Monday night when the St. Louis Blues come to town. And while a matchup with the Blues, one of the top teams in the West, doesn't seem like a favorable matchup to get back in the W column, the Blues have done most of their damage this season on home ice.

On the road, where they will be on Monday to continue what is a four-game road trip, they've been a losing team this season and carry a 12-13-3 record into Calgary, which is the second worst road record (behind only Chicago) among the current playoff teams in the West.

Others worth watching

7:30 ET, New York Rangers vs. New Jersey: It's always fun when the Rangers and Devils get together and they continue their rivalry on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. The Devils have won two of the first three meetings this season.

8:30 ET, Winnipeg vs. Edmonton: With a win against Edmonton the Winnipeg Jets can, once again, take over first place in the back-and-forth crazy world that is the NHL's Souteast Division.

Your promised miscellany
Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:04 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:08 am
 

Andy Sutton re-signs with Oilers

OilersBy: Adam Gretz

Another potential trade target appears to have come off the market, as the Edmonton Oilers announced that the team and defenseman Andy Sutton have agreed to terms on a new contract. The contract is a one-year deal worth $1.5 million deal (with additional games played bonuses) according to TSN's Bob McKenzie, and will keep Sutton in Edmonton for another season.

He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, and that status, as well as Edmonton's place near the bottom of the Western Conference standings led to the inevitable trade speculation.

In 33 games this season the 6-foot-6 defenseman has scored three goals to go with six assists, and is playing for his fourth team in the past three years, having also spent time with the Islanders, Senators and Ducks in recent seasons.

A physical presence on the blue line for Edmonton, Sutton has sometimes taken it a bit too far this season and has been suspended on two separate occassions for a total of 13 games. He received a five-game banishment back in October for elbowing Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, and then missed eight games in December for charging Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Sutton is currently in the final year of a two-year contract that pays him $2.12 million per season.

Sutton's re-signing with the Oilers comes just a couple of weeks after Carolina locked up Tim Gleason with a four-year deal.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: January 18, 2012 4:11 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 4:43 pm
 

Rookies facing the toughest assignments

CouturierBy: Adam Gretz

Pucks and Numbers: a weekly statistical look at what's happening around the NHL. This week: A look at which top rookies are playing some of the toughest (and easiest) assignments in the NHL.

Most NHL teams are going to put their rookies into favorable situations on the ice.

They are usually not going to be asked to play the toughest minutes on their team, against the best opponents and in defensive situations, and instead are going to be put into low pressure situations where they have the best opportunity to succeed. There are, of course, always exceptions, and some youngsters are asked to take on larger (and more important) roles, whether it be out of necessity, or because the player has shown that he's capable of taking on such an assignment at a young age. 

This year's rookie class has had some pretty impressive performances so far, including that of top overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (currently the NHL's leading rookie scorer) in Edmonton, Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson with the Devils and, of course, Philadelphia's young forwards Sean Couturier (pictured) and Matt Read, who have not only flashed some offensive ability, but have also proven themselves to be more than capabale penalty killers.

But which of the NHL's top rookies are being asked to play the toughest minutes this season?

Well, that's what the scatterplot picture below helps us figure out. We're using Relative Corsi Quality of Competition (the level of competition the player is playing against -- the higher the number, the tougher the opponent, and vice versa) and Offensive Zone starts (both via Behind The Net) during 5-on-5 play to determine which rookies are being asked to play in the toughest situations by their respective teams.

The closer a player is to the top left of the chart, the harder the assignments he's being given (playing against better players and starting fewer shifts in the offensive zone), while the closer a player is to the bottom right, the easier the assignment (playing against weaker competition and starting more shifts in the offensive zone).

The players included: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oilers), Adam Henrique (Devils), Nick Johnson (Wild), Luke Adam (Sabres), Cody Hodgson (Canucks), Jared Cowen (Senators), Adam Larsson (Devils), Gabriel Landeskog (Avalanche), Sean Couturier (Flyers), Matt Read (Flyers), Ryan Johansen (Blue Jackets), Raphael Diaz (Canadiens), Craig Smith (Predators), Colin Greening (Senators) and Kaspars Daugavins (Senators).

Rookie Assignments

A few thoughts:

1) When it comes to the NHL's rookie of the year debate the two most common names are, naturally, Nugent-Hopkins and Henrique. They are, after all, the top two scoring rookies in the league, and before Nugent-Hopkins went out with his injury they were neck-and-neck in that scoring race. Now that Henrique is running unopposed for the foreseeable future, he's going to take over that scoring lead (barring an injury of his own, of course) and will probably become the front-runner for the award by seasons end.

Both players have arguments working in their favor.

When we did our mid-season award picks I went with Henrique based on the fact he and Nugent-Hopkins were nearly identical offensively, while Henrique was being asked to play in tougher situations (as the chart above illustrates). Along with that, he is also one of the top penalty killing forwards on the best penalty killing team in the league, and has proven himself to be a threat offensively even when his team is down shorthanded, currently tied for the league in shorthanded points. Conversely, Nugent-Hopkins is getting some of the easiest minutes in the league among the top rookies, and has played just a total of one minute and 16 seconds of shorthanded ice time this season.

That said, it can't be ignored that Henrique is already 21 years old while Nugent-Hopkins is one of the youngest players in the league at the age of 18. Actually, he's the second-youngest player to have skated in an NHL game this season, having been born just six days after Ottawa's Mika Zibanejad, who appeared in nine games for the Senators.

He may not be asked to play in tough situations, but his performance is still darn impressive given his age.

2) Don't overlook the rookie duo in Philadelphia. The Flyers completely re-tooled their roster over the summer, and halfway through the 2011-12 season they haven't missed a beat as far as being a contender in the Eastern Conference is concerned.

 Losing Mike Richards and Jeff Carter looked like it was going to be a major blow to their forward depth, and while they are definitely a different team from a year ago, they're still boasting an impressive group of forwards, including their two prized rookies Couturier (selected with the draft pick that came from Columbus in exchange for Carter) and Read. Both are among the Flyers' top penalty killing forwards, and among Flyers forwards that have played at least 20 games this season Read is currently facing the fourth-toughest competition on the team.

3) Mike Yeo, head coach of the Minnesota Wild, appears to have a lot of faith in Nick Johnson, a player the team picked up on waivers before the season. Not only is he playing, by far, the toughest minutes of any of the top rookies in the NHL (he's currently 11th among rookie scorers) his Qual Comp is the highest of any forward on the Wild roster. Perhaps that faith shouldn't be much of a surprise given the connections both have to the Pittsburgh organization (Johnson was drafted by the Penguins, while Yeo was a former assistant).

Of course, age once again needs to be taken into account. While Johnson is playing tougher minutes than all of these other rookies, he's also by far the oldest player on the chart having already turned 26 back in December. A 26-year-old rookie and an 18-year-old rookie aren't exactly the same thing.

Taking into account performance, assignments and age I'd still choose Henrique as the top rookie in the NHL this season (so far), with Nugent-Hopkins, Read and Craig Smith coming in just behind.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:52 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 7:54 pm
 

Andy Sutton suspended 8 games

By: Adam Gretz

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton had a hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Saturday, and later in the evening it was announced by the league that he has been suspended eight games for his hit on Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday night. He was penalized two minutes for charging on the play, as he clearly left his feet and delivered a blow to the head of the Hurricanes forward.

It's already Sutton's second suspension of the season as he was banished five games for a hit on Avalanche rookie forward Gabriel Landeskog earlier in the year.

"While we acknowledge that on many big body checks a hitters feet may at times come off the ice to a certain degree," said Shanahan in his latest league video. "We felt the degree in which Sutton's skate comes off the ice is excessive."

He also added that Sutton's past history, which includes seven fines or suspensions in his NHL career, as well as the fact that Ponikarovsky did not suffer any major injury as a result of the hit, were all taken into account when reaching his decision.

Here is the full video, which also includes clips of Sutton's past run-ins with league discipline:



More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 8, 2011 9:24 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Oilers D Andy Sutton suspended indefinitely

By: Adam Gretz

Andy Sutton was suspended for the second time already this season for a dangerous hit, this time being suspended indefinitely until Brendan Shanahan can decide how long it will last.

During his brief time in charge of NHL discipline, Shanahan has put a rather large emphasis on whether or not a player is a repeat offender, or has a history of illegal hits. That's probably not good news for the Edmonton Oilers defenseman after his elbow to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexei Ponikarovsky on Wednesday night. When his punishment is officially announced, it won't be kind.

The play occurred midway through the third period of Carolina's 5-3 win, which was also the first victory for Kirk Muller as an NHL head coach.

Here's a look at the play:



Sutton received a two-minute minor for boarding. He was all over the ice on Wednesday making his presence felt physically, and tallied nine penalty minutes over the course of the game, including another boarding penalty in the second period, as well as a five-minute major for fighthing after he delivered a huge (and what appeared to legal) open ice hit on Carolina's Jeff Skinner.

Earlier this season Sutton was suspended five games for an illegal hit to the head of Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, and during that suspension video Shanahan cited Sutton's past history of fines and suspensions for various illegal plays. And now he has another one just a little over a month later.

More NHL Discipline News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:13 pm
 

Avs' Landeskog, Galiardi do their best Tebowing

By Brian Stubits

Editor's note: This is a story on the Lighter Side of Sports, enjoy it as such. Thank you.

You remember the Planking fad that, thankfully, didn't really make much of an impact in the hockey world? That's the one where you lay down some place that's very odd and stiffen your body like a plank and take a picture. The only real influence of that in the NHL that I saw came from the mascot of the Colorado Avalanche, Bernie.

Well the newest planking trend is called Tebowing. Just in case you don't know (which I find hard to believe) the Denver Broncos have a quarterback named Tim Tebow who is an incredibly religious person. He isn't shy about thanking his Lord at every chance he gets and has taken to kneeling in prayer often during games.

Now the trend is to go down in the Tebow position and pose (looks a bit like the Thinking Man). It's called Tebowing.

Like planking, the NHL is introduced to the fad through the Avalanche, interestingly enough in the same city as Tebow.

Posted on the official Tebowing website (yes, there is an entire site dedicated to this) here is rookie Gabriel Landeskog and T.J. Galiardi (along with two fans) doing their best Tebow.

Now if I may judge, I don't think I can give this more than a six. This resembles the Thinking Man much more than Tebow in my mind and the lack of going down to the knee is an automatic deduction of a point.

Photo: Tebowing.com

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:13 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 10:47 am
 

Duchene vs. Malkin: Which goal is better?

By: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- After racing out to a two-goal lead in the first period the Colorado Avalanche had a bit of a meltdown on Tuesday, allowing five consecutive goals in Pittsburgh to fall by a 6-3 margin, losing for the ninth time in their past 12 games. The game had a great flow at times as the two teams exchanged chances, and it also featured two of the nicest goals we've seen across the NHL this year.

First, Colorado's third-year standout, Matt Duchene, made a ridiculous move between the circles to drag the puck between his legs and dangle around Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to deposit the puck into an empty net for his seventh goal of the season. Duchene was one of the best players on the ice for much of the game, especially through the first two periods, recording seven shots on goal -- including the one he scored on -- in just over 17 minutes of ice-time.

Not to be outdone, Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin scored what proved to be the game-winner early in the third period when he forced a turnover behind the net, and then proceeded to turn Gabriel Landeskog and Semyon Varlamov inside-out on his way to his fifth goal of the season.

Two outstanding plays, but which one tops your highlight reel for the night?


I know it came in the losing effort, and the goal itself is probably no consolation on a night where his team surrendered five unanswered goals (and it wasn't), but I'm tempted to go with Duchene's as the better play. But it's close. To be able to pull that move off at that speed is incredible.

Said Duchene after the game, "I kinda forgot about it, but it was a great play by Pauly (Stastny). He made a great pass to me and I was just able to free myself up for an open net. I think we're a little but disappointed as a line because we felt like we played a good enough game to score two or three more and just weren't able to do it. Had some bad bounces, a post, some chances that just didn't go in. We could have put the game away early with any luck."

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