April is a wonderful time to be a sports fan. You have hockey playoffs in the AJHL, WHL, AHL and NHL. You have NBA playoffs. MLB has begun, the NFL draft is next week, followed by the CFL draft, and the NHL will announce the finalists for player awards.
There is no shortage of topics to discuss and debate.
Last night, Sidney Crosby scored his 173rd playoff point and surpassed Mario Lemieux to become the all-time playoff points leader in Penguins history. When Crosby’s career is over he could join the debate as one of the top-five players off all-time. But Evgeni Malkin shouldn’t be very far behind.
Malkin has 162 points in 153 playoff games while Crosby has 172 in 152 playoff games. Crosby averages 1.13 points/game while Malkin is at 1.06. Yet we rarely hear about Malkin among the greats of today’s games.
Malkin has been grossly overlooked. It is still embarrassing he wasn’t among the top-100 players of all-time. If he was Canadian he’d be on the list, because there is no chance Jonathon Toews is a better player. In 791 NHL games, Toews has 674 points while Malkin has 930 in 784 games. Malkin has one Hart Trophy and two Art Ross. Toews has never finished in the top-ten in scoring in an NHL season.
Crosby has been dynamic, no question, but Malkin is not far behind. Since Malkin entered the league in 2006/2007, he has scored 1.19 points per game in 784 games, while Crosby has produced 1.30 points/game in 783 games. If Crosby is in the conversation of top-five greatest of all-time, will Malkin be in the top-20?
Here are a few questions you can answer in the comment sections.
1. Between 2007-2016, who are your top-five players in the NHL? I think a decade is a good timeline and I opted for those years, because it won’t include McDavid, who had only played 45 NHL games. Who are your top five players over those ten years? In order from one to five?
2. Who is the best goalie from 2007-2016: Carey Price, Roberto Luongo or Henrik Lundqvist?
Lundqvist has the most starts, 558, and among the only 39 goalies who started at least 200 starts, his .920sv% is fifth behind Braden Holtby (.921 in 236 starts), Tomas Vokoun (.921 in 306 starts), Tuukka Rask (.924 in 313 starts) and Cory Schneider (.925 in 255 starts). It is very difficult to maintain a .920 sv% over a decade with that many starts. Roberto Luongo is very close at .919 in 502 starts, while Price has a .920sv% as well in 438 starts. Lundqvist made 120 more starts than Price and maintained the same sv%. Impressive.
3. After watching this year’s playoffs, do we really need more teams in the postseason? We had two four-game sweeps. Four other series sit at 3-1 and it could be six if Boston and Columbus win tonight. Would having the Panthers and Blues in the playoffs really made it better? Not for me. I see no need to expand the postseason.
4. Why is the hockey culture much more serious than the NBA? Did you see Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan joking around on the podium after their game? We never see that in hockey. I’m not saying it is bad, but is clearly different and I think at times hockey, along with fans and media, take it too seriously.
5. Who do you like in the Pacific Division final, the Sharks or the Golden Knights?
It is interesting how many are saying other NHL teams should follow the Golden Knights approach, by giving players opportunities etc, but I think we should pump the brakes a bit. It is one year. Can they do it again? David Perron, James Neal, Reilly Smith and Jonathon Marchessault had been productive players before, but Perron, Marchessault and Reilly had career bests. Will they again? William Karlsson had an unreal season, while Eric Haula jumped up to 29 goals. I understand the love for the Golden Knights, but it is one season. If anything teams should look at San Jose and see how they have been able to maintain being a top team for 20 years.
Since 1998, they have made the playoff every year except 2003 and 2015. They have had 95+ points 14 times. They have won 16 playoff series and reached the Finals once and the Conference Finals three other times. Because they haven’t won a Cup they get critiqued, and some of that is warranted, but over 20 years they have been able to maintain being a very competitive team. The Kings and Hawks won Cups, but they were also terrible for long stretches. Of course the Sharks void is not having a Cup, but they have been consistently competitive and been able to stay near the top for 20 years.
6. Would you rather be a Sharks fan or a Hurricanes fan? The Sharks have never won a Cup, but are consistently in the playoffs and have won at least one playoff round eleven of the past 20 seasons. The Hurricanes lost the final in 2003, won the Cup in 2006, and made the Conference Finals in 2009. But they’ve only made the playoffs five times in 20 years.
Would you rather have one Stanley Cup and five playoff appearances, or no Cups, and 18 playoff appearances in 20 years?
This is Gregor’s Grads fifth year in operation. I started the foundation in the fall of 2012, and in the spring of 2013 we had our first fittings. We provide a new suit, shirt, ties, shoes and now socks for High School grads who are unable to purchase their own suit. Mr. Derk has been our partner since day one and Sterling, Patricia and their staff do a great job of fitting the boys in their suits.
I feel it is very important to be transparent about our Foundation. 100% of the money we raise goes to fitting the boys. We can outfit a grad for about $250. The odd one is a bit more, if they require a special size, but we do a lot of advance planning, and Mr. Derk uses their relationships with many suppliers to keep our costs down. Papa Johns Pizza has always supplied pizza on fitting day, and this year, Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken stepped up and surprised every boy with a special GC. It is such a nice added bonus.
Our first year, we fitted 42 grads. This year we will be between 95-100. It has really grown, which is fantastic, but it requires more fundraising.
My wife Traci and I donate the first $5000. It was my idea, and I believe it is important to put up funds. We save for the year and this is one of our big donations.
The Oilersnation tournament raised $10,000 for our foundation in the fall. And other past donors have already donated over $2,500 this year.
We are at $17,500 right now, which is great, but with a big jump in numbers this year we need to raise more.
We just had our first fitting day earlier this week, and it has become one of my favourite days of the year. It is great to watch the boys walk out of the change room, look in the mirror and see themselves in a suit for the first time. They stand a bit taller and their confidence radiates through their smiles and in their eyes. It is amazing.
Here are some letters we received last year from some of the boys who used The Gregor Foundation.
Thank You Gregor’s Grads for the blessing that I desperately needed this year. Your gift gave me comfort and serenity. Without your thoughtfulness I would have been troubled. You made my graduation day a blast. I am truly thankful and I appreciate your present.
My name is Tristan and I was one person who was impacted by your generosity of the Gregor Foundation Suit Program for my graduation. For all of us at our school, district and city we thank you ever so much for giving us the pride to cross the stage in a magnificent and inspiring suit. I am truly thankful for this opportunity I was given and I’m glad to know that in the future there will be other students who will be given the same.
I wish the Founder, Mr. Gregor, and all the volunteers and donors who help make this happen a wonderful and prosperous live.
Dear Gregor Foundation,
Thank you so much for your generosity and kindness donating the beautiful suit for me. I brought smiles to my face, warmed my heart and lifted my spirits. Without your help and generous act, I would not have been able to attend commencement and graduation banquet in his awesome suit you gave me as a gift.
It meant so much to me. I am so delighted and impressed. My family hardly makes ends meet and we couldn’t afford to buy such an amazing suit as the one you gave me.
That’s why I thank you so much again, from the bottom of my heart. You made my grad events the best days of my life.
With love and appreciation,
These are 17 and 18 year-old young men and their words really warmed my heart.
HELP IF YOU CAN
I would really appreciate it if you could make a donation. $250 fits one boy and $500 fits two. If 15 readers donate $500 we will make our goal.
If you would like to donate please send me an email to email@example.com and include your name and phone number in it.
Thanks in advance. If you can’t donate, no worries, thanks for reading about Gregor’s Grads.