Today Jason Gregor begins a new series where he takes a look around the league and discusses the goods. Personally we like it. – WG
Without further ado Nation here is a series of random points that might not make an article each, but should be brought to your attention. Let’s get right to what I call “DYSWIS.” Ok I don’t call it that, but if I was particularly pressed for time I suppose I could.
- Is Gustavsson the next second coming of Jacques Plante or he is just another decent goalie who isn’t in the NHL? He is good, but saying he is Hiller and Backstrom is reaching a bit for a potentially higher level, rather than more of a realistic possibility.
- I should clarify something. It has been reported that the Oilers can’t offer him a contract because they are at 50. While the latter is true, there is a short window that allows teams to sign players for next year, even if they are at 50 contracts. Rick Olczyk confirmed this was true, but wouldn’t divulge the exact date that the window closes, “It closes very shortly,” he said. I’ve been trying to find the date, but haven’t found the exact day, but it seems to be sometime in May. It is true the Oilers are interested and they can offer him a contract, but remember with Gustavsson, due to his age he only has to sign a ONE-YEAR entry level deal, not the usual three. So there won’t be an excessive bidding war, just some differing on bonuses.
- What was Aaron Ward thinking? Protect yourself, rather than keep your hands down at your side after you’ve been jostling with Scott Walker. You don’t play the role until the last second and then just stand there. It looked like he tried to goad Walker into a fight and then changed his mind at the last moment. It will be interesting to see if the NHL overturns the automatic one-game suspension that comes with getting an instigator in the last ten minutes. Right up until Walker punched Ward both guys looked like they knew what would happen next. Walker has always been a hard-nosed, but honorable player. In a situation like that, Ward at least needs to protect himself.
Deep breath – are you taking all of this in? Good….
- Johan Franzen is a thoroughbred amongst Mules. He has great hands in tight, and a deceptive shot from outside. While many are screaming saying he took the home town discount, a little closer look at his contract and you realize he didn’t take that much of a hit. He’s already 29 and he’ll be 40 when his new 11-year deal ends. He will make 38 million over the next seven years, averaging just over five million a season. Would he have gotten that much more on the free agent market this summer?
- I wonder if the NHL will look at limiting the length of contracts if a player is 28 or older. The Wings have locked up many of their players with contracts until they’re 40. Most of the money gets paid upfront, but the cap hit is lower, and if the player retires after 35 the remaining years won’t count against the cap. It’s a smart move by the Wings, and a few other teams, but it will be curious to see if the NHL tries to close that window during the next CBA.
- Yes, Dan Clearly’s leg was in the crease behind Hiller but it didn’t limit Hiller’s movement. Watch the replay again; he didn’t even try to move his leg to make the save.
- Unless you are a Pens fan how can you not cheer for the Caps tonight? Who doesn’t want to see a game seven between these two teams? This series has been great.
- I wonder if those who thought Mike Green was a guaranteed top-five D-man in the league because of one good offensive season, still think that after watching him during the playoffs? I like Green, but if you think he is better than Bouwmeester you aren’t watching closely enough.
- CBC clearly lost the TV trade at the start of this round. CBC got game one of the Ducks/Wings from TSN, while TSN received game six between the Pens/Caps. I wonder if Grapes, or one of their analysts, will critique how bad of a deal that was.
- Eric Staal is a special player. The more I watch him the more I find it hard to believe he won’t be on the Olympic team. Outside of Ryan Getzlaf he has been the best Canadian player in the playoffs. He could be the reason Joe Thornton doesn’t make the team, moreso than Thornton’s inability to lead his team to the Cup.
- Do Oiler fans still think Craig MacTavish stunted Erik Cole’s offensive ability?
And here are some great tidbits courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau:
- Over the last two seasons, Franzen leads the NHL with 20 playoff goals and Zetterberg ranks second with 19. Zetterberg has three empty-net goals in the 2009 playoffs, the most in one postseason since Pete Stemkowski of the Rangers netted three ENGs in 1974.
- Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins beat the Capitals for the second straight night to take a three-games-to two lead in their series. It’s only the second time in Fleury’s NHL career regular-season and playoffs that he’s started and won games on consecutive days. He did that in March 2006 against the Devils and Flyers (both in Pittsburgh).
- Dustin Byfuglien recorded his first two-goal game in the playoffs to help the Blackhawks beat the Canucks, 4-2, and take a three-games-to-two lead in their series. Byfuglien is the sixth different Chicago player with a multiple-goal game in this year’s playoffs; the others are Martin Havlat, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland. The Red Wings, with four, are the only other team with more than three such players in the 2009 NHL postseason.