Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:26 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 5:31 pm
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.
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Posted on: January 29, 2012 8:38 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 8:40 pm
The All-Star Game is about fun and it ends up being a lot about offense. The scoring is always through the roof. That's what happens when defensemen get stuck in 1-on-3s, players don't hit and the intensity level is lower than a mites game at intermission.
It doesn't always make for compelling television, but it does result in some pretty interesting statistics for the players. This saddens the skaters but the goalies couldn't be happier.
So here you are, the All-Star Game superlatives from Team Chara's 12-9 over Team Alfredsson in Ottawa.
Most goals: That would go to MVP Marian Gaborik, the only player to record a hat trick on the day. Sadly, nobody in Ottawa threw a hat on the ice, but Gabby did have a pretty memorable moment by beating his Rangers teammate Henrik Lundqvist and celebrating like Artem Anisimov.
Most points: Also Gaborik, who was the only player to reach four points. He assisted on Zdeno Chara's game-winning goal.
Most unselfish (assists leader): Pavel Datsyuk earns the "award" with his three assists in the game, the benefits of playing with Gaborik (or the other way around). "I wanted to score, too," Datysuk told Dan Rosen of NHL.com. "I never scored in my career in the All-Star Game. The dream is still there."
Ironman (most minutes): Shea Weber had more ice time than any player in the game, clocking 22:12 for Team Alfredsson. Still, he didn't record a point on the night. Something about nobody taking slap shots ...
Plus/Minus ace: Chara and Brian Campbell were tied for the best mark, playing together for much of Team Chara's win. Each was an impressive plus-seven.
Forgettable forward: Despite playing for the team that scored 12 goals and won, Jamie Benn was the only forward in the game on either side that didn't record a point.
Hitman: Yes, there was actually a hit in the game. A single hit. Scott Hartnell (of course) come on down! He had the audacity to get credit for a hit in an All-Star Game.
Best goalie: The award goes to Thomas, who pulled off a pretty incredible feat by winning the All-Star Game for the fourth straight time. He stopped 18 of 21 shots for an .857 save percentage.
Worst goalie: It was like old times in Ottawa for Brian Elliott, unfortunately. He surrendered six goals on 19 shots in the third period for a save percentage of .684. Oy.
Prettiest goal: It's a tough call after Daniel Alfredsson's first of the game, but I'm going to go with Marian Hossa's third-period goal when there was a player who was actually trying to play defense in front of him. It gets some extra credit for the saucer pass from Datsyuk to spring the breakaway.
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Photo courtesy of Sean Gentille twitpic
Tags: 2012 All-Star Game, Boston Bruins, Brian Campbell, Brian Elliott, Brian Stubits, Daniel Alfredsson, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Sedin, Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Keith Yandle, Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, Milan Michalek, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Pavel Datsyuk, Scott Hartnell, Shea Weber, Tim Thomas, Vancouver Canucks, Zdeno Chara
Posted on: January 27, 2012 3:13 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 3:39 pm
When it comes to All-Star Games, the NHL is probably in the middle. It's certainly a notch below the holy grail of games, baseball's Midsummer Classic, but it's undoubtedly ahead of football's Pro Bowl. Like the NBA's version, defense isn't even optional, it's pretty much discouraged.
So truth be told, people don't watch the All-Star Game for the hockey. Really, mid-week games featuring the Blue Jackets and Oilers will provide a better game (not necessarily entertainment, however). Instead, fans watch it for the Stars , the chance to see their favorite players.
Or to see things we never get the chance to see.
Thanks to the Fantasy Draft, the possibilities exist for some squeamish line combinations that wouldn't otherwise have been feasible. Such as Bruins playing with Canucks. However seeing as one of the two captains was a Bruin, we missed out on some golden opportunity to have Zdeno Chara paired with Alex Edler while playing with Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Tyler Seguin in front of them with Tim Thomas in net. Oh, if Chara could have only seen the potential.
What Chara did end up doing was drafting a host of right wingers, making this pre-draft incredibly awkward exchange all the more apropos.
With all that said, thanks to our Line Mixmaster 3000 (patent pending) we were able to come up with some interesting lines with the teams that were selected -- and some lines that make you go "meh." Hey, you can't win them all.
(Do note we had to execute some position changes to get four even lines. But to Joffrey Lupul and Daniel Alfredsson: I see what you did. Lupul only helped Chara draft one left winger and Alfredsson only picked one right winger. Sorry fellas, you can't triple shift.)
Let's start with Team Alfredsson, considering he's the host and all.
As Seen in Ottawa line: Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson. Intrigue? Nah, there's not a whole lot on this one, frankly. Senators fans can see these guys together most every night. But you have an entire line of guys not out of position in their hometown ... it's a lock. But hopefully they keep the mic on Spezza during the game like he had it on in the draft and this time we can hear a full-out laugh. That's interesting enough.
Third Wheel line: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Logan Couture. OK, I'll relent and keep the Sedins together. The best third wheel for them is Couture. You have the whole Predators of the sea thing (Canucks' killer whale vs. the Sharks), the little rivalry between their teams and, well, just another way to pick on Couture a little bit after he was Mr. Irrelevant. Sorry Henrik, I don't think you're going to get those better players to play with this year (It's OK, Daniel, you can smile!).
I Believe I Can Fly line: Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, John Tavares. I had a harder time naming this line than any of the others (no doubt it shows). But the Flyers connection is pretty clear and they get an Atlantic Division friend in the mix in Tavares, somebody who has wheels that just might inspire Hartnell to try and skate faster and contribute to the Hartnell Down-O-Meter. Tavares converts to the wing to make it happen, a pretty easy transition from center.
The Forgotten line: James Neal, Steven Stamkos, Jason Pominville. Neal was the guy who the NHL just didn't seem to want to invite. It took the last replacement spot for Neal to get the call despite being second in the league in goals scored. Stamkos is the only guy with more goals than Neal and yet he's such a quiet superstar that some might not even be aware of that fact. As for Pominville? Well it's been a forgettable season in Buffalo so far, so he fits in here.
Defensive pairings: This is really a hodgepodge of names when put together, there's not a whole lot that screams out for obvious potential pairings. So I've got Shea Weber with Alex Edler (Western Conference the tie that binds), Erik Karlsson with Kris Letang (excessive use of the letter K) and Dan Girardi with Keith Yandle (ummm, they were each in that game that was won with 0.1 seconds left this season).
Now on to Team Chara. Here are the lines that we can put together, seeking maximum intrigue.
Cyborg line: Corey Perry, Pavel Datsyuk, Jarome Iginla. The cyborg obviously references the man in the middle, but it also includes one of the league's ageless wonders in Iginla plus a guy with a connection to Disney. Hey, we have to make some stretches. The only person out of position here is Perry, being forced to the left wing because of Chara's right-side glut.
Miss-match line: Jamie Benn, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Gaborik. Yea, there isn't a whole lot of connections with this line except Malkin and Gaborik are both from Eastern Europe. But hey, good for Benn to play his first game in weeks alongside the best player in the NHL the last couple of weeks in Malkin. He'll take it, I'm sure.
Two Blackhawks and a Kid line: Jordan Eberle, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa. So this line has a couple of players "out of position" but Kane is no stranger to center. We had to convert somebody to the middle and he's the easy pick seeing that he's played there this season. He gets to be alongside his Chicago buddy Hossa. Poor Eberle, he might not get to see the puck with these two guys. That won't make his fan club president (on the right) too happy.
Blackhawks and ladies? No doubt this will be Joey the Junior Reporter's favorite line to follow.
The Awkward line: Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Seguin, Phil Kessel. We saved the best for last. Yes, consider this the coup-de-grace of interesting lines. The two players -- Seguin and Kessel -- who will forever be tied to each other thanks to the trade between the Maple Leafs and Bruins, alongside another Leaf in Lupul.
“I said ‘Kess, I think we’re linemates,'" Seguin said to Kessel on Thursday (from the Boston Herald). "He said ‘That be cool. I think the media would like it.’”
Yes, Phil, yes we would.
Defensive pairings: Well we have to put Chara with Dion Phaneuf. Again, it's the Leafs-Bruins angle but also two of the more fearsome defensemen in the league. Good pairing. Ryan Suter gets paired with Kimmo Timmonen so they can find out if there is any chemistry there in case Philly is Suter's landing spot if he's traded. That leaves Brian Campbell to pair with Dennis Wideman. All I got here is Campbell is a current Panthers defenseman and Wideman used to be one.
As for a goalie to be mic'd up like Cam Ward was last year? I'm going to vote for Carey Price. Hey, any guy that does a campaign video like this and nearly spits his drink out when he's picked in the draft is probably entertaining enough to help carry the event for a period.
Enjoy the game. It will be a lot easier with some of the above intrigue. But please, leave your gripes about the lack of defense at home, we all know it's sorely lacking.
Tags: 2012 All-Star Game, Alex Edler, Alex Edler, Boston Bruins, Brian Campbell, Brian Stubits, Carey Price, Chicago Blackhawks, Claude Giroux, Corey Perry, Dan Girardi, Daniel Alfredsson, Daniel Sedin, Dennis Wideman, Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Sedin, James Neal, Jamie Benn, Jarome Iginla, Jason Pominville, Jason Spezza, Joffrey Lupul, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Keith Yandle, Kimmo Timmonen, Kris Letang, Logan Couture, Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators, Patrick Kane, Pavel Datsyuk, Phil Kessel, Ryan Suter, Scott Hartnell, Shea Weber, Steven Stamkos, Tim Thomas, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Seguin, Vancouver Canucks, Zdeno Chara
Posted on: January 26, 2012 9:23 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 11:42 am
By: Adam Gretz
We knew which players were going to be taking part in the All-Star game this season, but we had no idea which team they would be playing for and who they would be playing against. It was all settled in Ottawa on Thursday night as Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, the two captains for this year's game, made their selections as you can see below in the order they were picked.
Chara won the coin toss and ended up with the first selection and chose Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, and continued to load up on offense in the early rounds going with Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa and Phil Kessel.
Kessel, of course, was the last pick in the All-Star draft a year ago, but went in the eighth round this season. The last man standing this season was San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture.
Two developments that should not have been a surprise to anybody: First, The Vancouver-Boston rivalry that started in last year's Stanley Cup Finals, and carried over into this season as we saw in their regular season matchup a couple of weeks ago, continued on as Chara did not pick a single Canuck.
That means that unlike last year when they were split up, the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, will play on the same team as they've always done throughout their time in the NHL.
Also not a surprise: Alfredsson made sure to pick every Senator in the game, ending up with Erik Karlsson (his first pick), Jason Spezza (his second pick) and Milan Michalek.
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Tags: 2012 All-Star Game, Adam Gretz, Alex Edler, Boston Bruins, Brian Campbell, Carey Price, Claude Giroux, Corey Perry, Dan Girardi, Daniel Alfredsson, Daniel Sedin, Dennis Wideman, Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Sedin, James Neal, Jarome Iginla, Jason Pominville, Jason Spezza, Jimmy Howard, Joffrey Lupul, Jonathan Quick, Jordan Eberle, Keith Yandle, Kimmo Timonen, Kris Letang, Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators, Patrick Kane, Pavel Datsyuk, Phil Kessel, Ryan Suter, Scott Hartnell, Steven Stamkos, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin, Vancouver Canucks, Zdeno Chara
Posted on: January 26, 2012 2:17 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 2:29 pm
I only speak for myself -- obviously -- but the draft has already become my favorite part about the All-Star weekend. It's entertaining, fun and even has some suspense. The game itself that finishes the weekend might not have any of those three features working for it.
Last year's inaugural draft in Carolina was clearly a success, that's why it's coming back this year. It's just like sitting at home plate waiting for the kickball on the mound to call your name in elementary school recess. Who doesn't look back at those days fondly (don't answer that)?
Unfortunately, some of the suspense of the event is taken away though as there are some predictable elements to the draft. You already know that captains will stick to their real-life teammates. For example, Daniel Alfredsson has already made it very clear that his first pick will no doubt be his defensive teammate with the Senators, Erik Karlsson.
The draft will take part on Thursday night at 8 ET on NBC Sports Network (here's a guide to the whole weekend courtesy of Puck the Media). It was moved up one day this year to take place on Thursday instead of Friday. Don't forget that.
With all that said, here's a guide of what to look for in the draft.
Sens will go fast: This one is a guarantee. One of them is a captain. Another one will go to Team Alfredsson likely on his first pick. The others (Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek) could very well be headed to Team Alfredsson early too. It's the hometown team with a hometown captain, he's not going to let those guys sit in the pool for very long.
Same goes for the Bruins: I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and say Tim Thomas will be the first goaltender picked, and he'll go to Team Chara. That's especially the case when you consider Team Alfredsson already has a goaltender in assistant captain Henrik Lundqvist. Tyler Seguin isn't going to last long with Chara picking either. You have to take care of your own, you know?
Kessel won't go last: There was a chance when the captains were named that you thought Phil Kessel could possibly fall to the bottom of the draft again and be Mr. Irrelevant even with the solid season he's having. But then Maple Leafs teammate Joffrey Lupul was named the assistant to Zdeno Chara and he'll likely lobby for Chara to forget some old feud and select Kessel for their team.
But one of these guys will: The pool for guys going last is pretty easy to narrow down. It's going to be a forward (rules require goalies and defensemen to go by a certain round) who is the lone representative from his team and is on the lower-profile side. That knocks out big scorers (Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry) and veterans (Jarome Iginla). That leaves five guys (not burgers and fries) to choose from -- placed in my order of least likely to go last to most likely.
John Tavares -- I think he's easiest to cross off seeing that he plays center. He's safe.
Logan Couture -- A couple weeks ago he was my pick when the teams were announced but some later additions make him safe in my mind.
Jamie Benn -- The only Stars player, the All-Star Game will actually be his first game in a couple of weeks after an appendectomy. That could actually garner him some sympathy. But he's a quiet guy, so we'll see.
Jordan Eberle -- The Oilers forward was one of the late additions because of injury. He's only 21 and in just his second season. There are ingredients for him to be the last one sitting. But as last year showed with Kessel, that can result in a nice parting package.
For the record, the oddsmakers at Bovada (formerly Bodog) have Scott Hartnell the favorite to go last at 6/1, but I think he's safer than the guys above.
Disinterested players: Of course there will be guys who look like this is one of the worst things they've had to do as a professional hockey player. That's pretty much inevitable. It's a distinct possibility the captains could look that way. Sorry, but Alfie and Chara don't exactly scream exuberance.
Boo birds: The battle of Ontario is regaining steam this season, so no doubt Lupul and Kessel will hear some boo birds (and cheers from those Leafs fans who snuck in). Poor Kessel, guy can't catch a break at this thing.
Sedin twins: Will Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin be split up again? Is it possible that Brian Burke was able to keep them together against 29 other teams but the captains can't do it against one other team? This is as good of a chance as any year ... would Chara actually pick a Canucks player?
Hazing: I'm not talking about anything serious here, but remember the things like Alex Ovechkin taking a picture of a lonely Kessel in the seats? Yea, there will be some fun being had among the players. I'm putting money down on Hartnell pulling a prank on somebody in some fashion.
Better yet, it would be better if Hartnell tripped himself after he is picked, like at least one kid does at every graduation ceremony ever hosted. It would add to the legend that is Hartnell Down.
Enjoy the show everyone. It only goes downhill from there this weekend.
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Tags: 2012 All-Star Game, Alex Ovechkin, Boston Bruins, Brian Stubits, Corey Perry, Daniel Alfredsson, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Sedin, Jamie Benn, Jarome Iginla, Jason Pominville, Jason Spezza, Joffrey Lupul, John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Logan Couture, Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators, Phil Kessel, Scott Hartnell, Steven Stamkos, Tim Thomas, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Seguin, Vancouver Canucks, Zdeno Chara
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 10:26 am
By: Adam Gretz
Of all the top scorers in the league this season the most overlooked and underappreciated one of them all might be Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings.
Not only because he's their leading scorer (and one of the only players on the team that's actually having a good season offensively) but also because they are asking him to play in every possible situation against the best players on a nightly basis.
More often than not in recent years the player that finishes the regular season as the NHL's leading scorer also tends to take home the Hart Trophy as the league MVP, as has happened in six of the past 10 years. In two of the four years it didn't happen, the Hart went to the player that scored the most goals. That kind of gives you an idea as to what voters are looking at, at least in part -- total production, whether it be goals and/or total points.
Of course, there is a ton of value in a player that scores enough to lead the league in any or both of those categories, and that player is obviously going to be one of the best players in the league. That is, after all, the most basic concept of the game: score goals.
But not all scorers play in situations that are created equal. Some players are put into situations where they can focus entirely on offense (like, say, Henrik and Daniel Sedin).
Others are given assignments that aren't quite as conducive to putting up points because of what might be greater defensive responsibilities, whether it be playing more minutes as a penalty killer, where offensive is nearly impossible to come by, or simply playing more even strength shifts in areas where defense has to take a priority over offense (such as a faceoff in the defensive zone).
Last week we looked at the top rookies that have been given the toughest assignments this season, and this week we're going to take a similar look at how the top-25 scorers in the league (at the start of this week) have been utilized by their teams. The chart below takes into account all five-on-five situations and locates players based on the quality of competition they face, as well as the percentage of their shifts that start in the offensive zone (both numbers via BehindTheNet).
The closer a player is to the top left, the harder the assignments. The closer to the bottom right, the "easier."
This, again, is the top-25 scorers in the NHL at the start of this week.
1) See those two guys way out on the right, all by themselves? Those are the Sedin twins, and it's easy to see what their role is for the Canucks. Along with their regular linemate, Alex Burrows, the Sedin's start a higher percentage of their shifts in the offensive zone than any player in the league (not just among the top scorers, but all players) and there really isn't anybody else that is even remotely close to them.
After Burrows, who again is their linemate, the only other regular player in the NHL that has a mark over 70 percent is Tampa Bay's well known defensive sieve, Marc-Andre Bergeron. And these guys are bordering on the 80 percent mark. This is not a new development for the Canucks, as head coach Alain Vigneault has pretty much always used his players this way, whether it be making sure that the Sedin's are always playing in the offensive zone, or players like Manny Malhotra are always on the ice for defensive zone draws.
Obviously, the Canucks are not the only team that operates this way and puts certain players in certain spots, as most of the top-scorers shown above are used in similar situations (favorable five-on-five roles, a lot of power play time, almost no time on the penalty kill). Though, the Canucks do seem to be the most committed to it, and as I mentioned in this week's Power Rankings, if it weren't for icing calls that forced them to stay on the ice for a faceoff in their own zone, I wonder if the Sedin's would ever be asked to start a shift in their own end of the ice.
2) The MVP campaign for Philadelphia's Claude Giroux is no joke, and if there were any doubts about his ability to take over the No. 1 center role in Philadelphia and play the tough minutes that Mike Richards previously played, well, you can forget about it. He's not only playing the key even strength minutes, he also spends two-and-a-half minutes per game on the penalty kill. And he's still the second leading scorer in the NHL, even with the fact that he's missed four games.
Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk is having a similar season, but we already knew he's capable of that and he's simply continuing to do what he's always done throughout his career -- play unmatched two-way hockey and dazzle with his obscene level of skill.
3) Where would the Kings and Devils be without Kopitar and Patrik Elias this season? Not only are they the top point producers for two teams that have little offense after them, but they have also been doing it under less-than-ideal circumstances for offense, while both spend significant time every night killing penalties for two of the top penalty killing teams in the league. Kopitar, for example, logs 2:28 of shorthanded ice time per game for the Kings, while Elias checks in at just under two minutes per game. Of the 25 players on the scatterplot above, only nine of them play more than one minute of shorthanded ice-time per game. Twelve of them play less than 10 seconds per game.
Does this mean that players like Kopitar and Elias are better than players like the Sedins, or Evgeni Malkin and James Neal? Or having better seasons? Well, no, not exactly, because those guys are still scoring at pretty impressive rates and being relied on to carry their teams offensively. In the cases of Malkin and Neal, for example, they're pretty much the only guys scoring for their team right now, so that can't be underestimated.
It does, however, mean that perhaps the gap isn't quite as big as the point total or goal total would indicate.
It means that a player like Kopitar, who never seems to get much attention as being one of the best players in the league (he's not even an All-Star this season, for whatever that's worth) is probably extremely underrated and underappreciated for what he has done for his team every single night this season, and the way he's gone about doing it.
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Tags: Adam Gretz, Alain Vigneault, Alex Burrows, Anze Kopitar, Claude Giroux, Daniel Sedin, Detroit Red Wings, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Sedin, James Neal, Los Angeles Kings, Manny Malhotar, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Mike Richards, New Jersey Devils, Patrik Elias, Pavel Datsyuk, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pucks and Numbers, Vancouver Canucks
Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:36 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 6:32 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The video you see above shows the play that earned Bruins forward Brad Marchand a five-minute major for clipping late in the second period of Saturday's Stanley Cup Finals rematch between Boston and Vancouver.
In the end, it proved to be a costly penalty for the Bruins as the Canucks took advantage of the extended power play, scoring a pair of goals that proved to be the difference in their 4-3 win. It was a game that did not fall short of the hype leading in to it. From the drop of the puck it was obvious there was no love lost between the two teams (or the fans) and it was non-stop craziness from start to finish, and it also may have given Brendan Shanahan a bit of extra work to do over the weekend in terms of supplemental discipline.
Not only will Marchand's hit most certainly be looked at by the league (Sami Salo, the player he hit, was not only injured on the play, but he never even had possession of the puck while Marchand made no attempt to play it), there's also the question of what will be done to Bruins forward Milan Lucic after he was ejected just six minutes into the first period for leaving the bench during a line brawl (which you can watch right here). ESPN Boston's James Murphy passed along the information during the game that NHL will meet after the game to decide whether or not he joined the scrum during a legal or illegal change.
If it is determined to be an illegal change he will be facing a 10-game suspension, which is the mandatory punishment for leaving the bench during a fight. Last season Eric Godard, then a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was hit with that punishment for leaving the bench during the now infamous February brawl between the Penguins and Islanders. A couple of weeks ago Tampa Bay's Steve Downie was hit with a $2,500 fine for a similar incident, avoiding the suspension because the NHL decided that he joined the play during a "legal" change and had a right to be in the game at that moment.
(UPDATE: The NHL rescinded the game misconduct to Milan Lucic after the game, meaning he's not likely to face any sort of a suspension.)
When all was said and done on Saturday afternoon, the Bruins and Canucks combined for over 100 penalty minutes, including four fighting majors, Marchand's major penalty for clipping, two game misconducts and two additional ten-minute misconducts. In other words: just another day at the office for the Bruins.
The Canucks' biggest issue in the Finals last season, when they lost to Boston in seven games, was their inability to score on the power play, scoring on just two of their 31 attempts. If you're going to beat the Bruins (and not many teams have recently) you're going to have to take advantage of the power plays they give you, and on Saturday Vancouver did just that, converting on four of 11 chances thanks to goals from Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Henrik Sedin and Cody Hodgson.
Cory Schneider, a Massachusetts native, was given the surprise start for the Canucks in goal and stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced, which also helped to provide us one of the more bizarre moments of the day. Even though it was Schneider between the pipes for the Canucks, the Bruins faithful spent most of the day heckling Roberto Luongo (despite the fact that, again, he wasn't playing), even starting a "we want Luongo" chant during the second period. The only real negative of the day for Schneider came midway through the second period when he and the Canucks were on the wrong end of a missing icing call by the officials (seen here), leading to Boston's second goal of the game off the stick of Rich Peverely. It was a blown call, but the lesson here is always play to the whistle.
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:26 am
Like other sports, the NHL allows fans to vote players into the All-Star Game. Like other sports, the fans get it horribly wrong.
The NHL announced the "starters" for this month's All-Star Game in Ottawa, and not surprisingly it is very Senators friendly. While they aren't really starters for the game, they are all voted in for six guaranteed spots. The vote-ins are as follows:
That's some impressive ballot-stuffing by the fine folks of Ottawa.
In all honesty, none of the four Sens voted in are completely undeserving of their place in the game. Karlsson has a legit claim to being a vote-in, he leads all defensemen in points and is second in the NHL with 32 assists. Michalek (19 goals) and Spezza (40 points) are both having quality seasons and Alfredsson, well, let's say he sort of deserves a spot at this point when the game is played in Ottawa. But the guaranteed spots? I'm not so sure about that.
Look at it this way: None of the league's top seven goal scorers or top 10 in points was voted in.
Of course, this isn't a big deal. It's the fans voting in six of 42 spots on the team and the hometown fans putting their players in the game. If that's their prerogative, then so be it. They're going to be the ones buying the tickets to the game. If they want to see guys they can watch at home 41 times a season for one more game, that's their right.
At least the fans got it right on Thomas. Craig Anderson was just too tough to vote in to the game, even if he tends for the Sens.
But have no fear. Claude Giroux, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Steven Stamkos, Phil Kessel, Marian Gaborik, Jonathan Toews, Jimmy Howard, Evgeni Malkin ... they'll all get put in the game if they want to play. They'll be in the draft that will be held once again as captains will pick sides like a schoolyard kickball game.
However the first thought I had when I heard the list (OK, second after remembering to not get all hot and bothered by the hometown players getting in) was to remember the Project Mayhem and how well that worked. Remember the idea where fans were going to vote in all the former Senators tearing it up in the NHL to show Ottawa what they've been missing? Guys like Zdeno Chara -- who should still make it regardless -- and Dany Heatley? How'd that work out?
I don't think these vote-in results will have much of an impact on the All-Star Game viewership. It's hard to find people who actually like it to begin with.
Photo: Getty Images
Tags: 2012 All-Star Game, Boston Bruins, Brian Stubits, Claudge Giroux, Craig Anderson, Daniel Alfredsson, Daniel Sedin, Dany Heatley, Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Sedin, Jason Spezza, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Toews, Marian Gaborik, Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators, Phil Kessek, Steven Stamkos, Tim Thomas, Toronto Maple Leafs, Zdeno Chara