Kristen Kreuk, who played Lana Lang in Smallville, was in the top-ten for most beautiful eyes and it is hard to argue. I’m sure she’d crack the top-ten in a few other categories as well, but I’m curious if she would see recent events in the hockey world the same as I? Probably not.
We are in the middle of round one of the NHL playoffs and there have been some very interesting story lines, in-game happenings and off the ice discussions.
- How much money will Ilya Bryzgalov lose in pending free agency based on his below-average play in the playoffs? The easy assumption is that Bryzgalov has mentally checked out because he has heard the Winnipeg rumours and he has no interest in playing in Winterpeg. That is a great conspiracy theory, but I don’t see a player abandoning his teammates at the most important time of the year because he is thinking about Winnipeg. The reality is he hasn’t played well, and regardless of the reason, his new contract won’t be as long or as high as it might have been based on his playoff performance.
- Watching Glen Healy state that game four of the Bruins/Habs series will come down to goaltending wasn’t a surprise. He is constantly pumping the tires of goalies, and I understand why they support the "union" so much, but goalie analysts might gain some credibility if they actually critiqued a goalie when he plays brutal. Antti Niemi was awful for the Sharks last night, and I’m sure all people will talk about is the Kings’ collapse. Of course we will talk about the Kings’ collapse, but if a D-man of forward was as bad as Niemi was, you can bet those goalie analysts would point it out.
- Breaking news: Dustin Penner sometimes doesn’t give his best effort, even at crucial times. Oiler fans must have been wondering why TSN and many on twitter were so surprised by Penner’s lack of effort on the Sharks’ OT goal, because they’ve seen that type of effort far too often the past three and half seasons.
- Are Canucks fans really that annoying and arrogant? The Canucks lose one game and opposing fans across the country are giving it to them at every turn. The Hawks were more desperate last night, and rightfully so, but do you really think that the Hawks are coming back in this series? Like it or not the Canucks are a pretty good team, and they’ll win the series, likely tomorrow.
- Many were applauding the TV deal that Gary Bettman and the NHL signed with Versus and NBC yesterday, because it was so much more than the previous few deals. Yes this deal is better, but when you compare the TV deal of essentially 24 American teams, to the TV deal of the six Canadian teams the Versus/NBC deal is still peanuts. CBC, $100 million, TSN, $40 million and RDS, $15 million combine for $155 million a year currently compared to the average of just over $200 million in the States. Yes the new 10-year pact is better than the previous deals, but it averages to about a 1/3 of what the six Canadian teams generate on a per/team basis. ***This doesn’t include regional money for Canadian or American teams.***
- I wonder how rabid the fans in Nashville will become if the Preds actually win a series? That city has never witnessed a meaningful victory, and if they do this season, I’ll be stunned if their ticket base doesn’t improve next season.
- Sergei Bobrovsky started 52 of the Flyers 82 games this year, and he won 28 of them. He allowed only one goal in game one, and then was brutal allowing four goals in 12:30 in game two. I understand starting Brian Boucher in game three, but why would you banish Bobrovsky to the pressbox and not even dress him for game three? He wasn’t going to realize how much more time he has in net watching from the pressbox, like a D-man possibly might. The Flyers will never win a Stanley Cup if they continue to jerk around their goalies like they have for the past 20 years.
- It seems many would rather look at the negatives/faults of the young guys getting drafted, but I see many positives in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ game at this point. Sure he is rather slender weighing only a buck sixty-eight, but does weight showcase heart and determination? I’d say it doesn’t (look above to Penner), and according to many players I’ve spoken with the past few days, who actually played against Nugent-Hopkins, to a man they said his desire and speed are top-notch. Sure he will lose some one-on-one battles due to his lack of size right now, but it sounds like he won more than he lost this past year.
Here is a list of guys from the past ten years, who were drafted high and played in the NHL at 18. I have their rookie season NHL points, and their last junior season point totals.
NAME NHL points Junior points
Rick Nash 39 72
Eric Staal 31 98
Nathan Horton 22 (55 games) 68
Jordan Staal 42 68
Patrick Kane 72 145
Sam Gagner 49 118
Steven Stamkos 46 105
John Tavares 54 104
Matt Duchene 55 79
Evander Kane 26 96
Taylor Hall 42 106
Jeff Skinner 63 90
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ?? 106
These players all varied in size and skill set, and there doesn’t seem to be any accurate way of predicting how they will fare in their first NHL season. Guys who were bigger and stronger than Nugent-Hopkings, like Nash, Horton and Staal struggled their first year, while smaller guys like Kane, Skinner and Gagner had better rookie campaigns. The great part of adding youth into your lineup is the uncertainty that they bring. I didn’t look to see how they fared on the PP or EV because I’m not certain there is any guaranteed formula that will show their junior numbers will translate equally to the NHL.
If you want to suggest that his EV scoring to PP scoring was a bit off, and it might be a concern is fair, but you should also take into account his hockey sense, ability to fight through checks and ultimately produce. If Nugent-Hopkings plays with a guy like Hall, Jordan Eberle or Ales Hemsky next season, would it be safe to assume that if he continually set them up for a good scoring chances that the likelihood of them scoring would be higher than his junior linemates?
I’d suggest that Nugent-Hopkins, who has great vision on the ice, would benefit from playing with skilled finishers and that would impact his NHL totals regardless of the team that he plays with. He will likely struggle at times during his first few NHL seasons, but I wouldn’t shy away from him based solely on his EV/PP scoring ratio.
I love watching playoff hockey, but I will switch the channel when Modern Family comes on tonight. Last week’s episode was their best ever. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you go download it. It was pure gold. From the wrapping of Phil’s van, to his "I’m not sure if the drapes match the carpet," phone conversation, to the witty spelling at the end of the school play it was definitely MUST SEE TV.