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The Case For John Carlson Winning The Hart Memorial Trophy

12/06/2019 at 8:42am EST

from Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post,

... That start includes a 21-4-5 record with an NHL-high 47 points in 30 games, making Carlson the best player on the best team with a case for the Hart Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s MVP.

Forwards have dominated the award. Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price won it in 2015, and the last defenseman to win it was Chris Pronger in 2000. Before that, it was Orr in 1972. Nicklas Lidstrom, a seven-time Norris winner and four-time Stanley Cup winner widely considered to be one of the best defensemen ever, never finished higher than fourth on MVP ballots.

Despite those odds, Carlson is making a strong case.

Let’s start with the last two defensemen to win the award, Pronger and Orr. Differences in season lengths, roster sizes and scoring environments make it difficult to compare season-long stats, but two advanced metrics, goals created and point shares, make era adjustments, allowing a more direct assessment of their respective performances. Goals created accounts for assists and adjusts them to the team level. Point shares is an adaptation of the win shares metric Bill James created in 2002 for baseball. In hockey, point shares estimate the number of standing points (two points for a win in regulation, overtime or a shootout and one point for an overtime or shootout loss) each player is responsible for. The higher the number, the more that player contributing to winning.

more

The Race To The Playoffs

12/06/2019 at 8:18am EST

500 words

We are getting close to that time of year where we begin thinking of a team or teams near the bottom of the standings in each conference. Sort of like the St. Louis Blues who were at the bottom of their conference this time of year last season, only to finish the season by raising the Stanley Cup.

If you were to visit any of the legal betting sites for US customers would you have confidence to pick one or two of the teams about to be mentioned?

Before you say no, remember the person who bet on the Blues when they were a long shot at 250/1 in January? By mid-June, he was $150K richer.

Video- Anyone See A Slewfoot, Nikita Zadorov On Jesperi Kotkaniemi

12/06/2019 at 7:03am EST

Longer video is below but the first video is more zoomed in.

NHL Short Notes

12/06/2019 at 5:30am EST

THREE HARD LAPS

* Offseason acquisitions helped the Coyotes and Wild continue recent strings of success.

* A familiar face scored the game-winning goal in his return to Columbus, which also welcomed back its former president of hockey operations.

* Eight of nine games contested Thursday were decided by a one-goal margin, including four which required overtime.

NHL Morning Skate – Dec. 6, 2019

Vdeo- Dust-Up With Joe Thornton And Petr Mrazek

12/05/2019 at 8:56pm EST

Mrazek and Thornton get 2 for slashing plus Thornton receives 2 for roughing.

added 12/6/19 at 12:02pm, Pretty funny tweet below.

TSN Insiders Tonight

12/05/2019 at 6:55pm EST

It would appear Taylor Hall is more likely to be dealt with the Devils current situation but which teams are already asking about his services? What would New Jersey's asking price be? The Insiders have the latest and also touch on why 'hockey culture' will be a key topic at next week's BOG meetings.

Watch at TSN.

A Lawsuit Filed Against The NHLPA For Theft Of Union Funds

12/05/2019 at 4:24pm EST

from Rick Westhead of TSN,

The NHL Players’ Association is accused of covering up a theft of more than $100,000 in union funds by one of its executives, according to a lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto.

The allegations are included in an $8.7-million wrongful dismissal case filed Nov. 3 by Allan Etherington, a 49-year-old former technical support analyst who worked for the NHLPA from September 10, 2008 until Feb. 13, 2019. Etherington also accuses the union of income tax and insurance fraud.

Union officials named as defendants in the case include Stephen Frank, the NHLPA’s former director of technology and security information technology; former NHL player Mathieu Schneider, who is now a special assistant to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr; union lawyer Roman Stoykewych; chief financial officer Richard Smit; director of finance Stephen Sax; and chief of global business strategies Sandra Monteiro.

continued

The Boston Bruins Could Have Interest In Taylor Hall

12/05/2019 at 4:06pm EST

from Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston,

Undoubtedly the Bruins could use a player of Hall’s caliber as the big, skilled winger that David Krejci has been looking for on his line for the last couple of seasons. It would force the Bruins to rearrange things a little bit, of course, whether it's shifting Jake DeBrusk down to the third line, or requiring one of Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen or DeBrusk to play on the right side rather than the left.

But those are minor adjustments when it comes to a 28-year-old who's just a couple of years removed from 39 goals and 93 points on his way to the NHL’s MVP Award, and a player who could immediately give the Bruins two extremely dangerous offensive lines while handing Krejci the kind of experienced top goal-scorer he has been without since the days of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Jarome Iginla, and even Loui Eriksson.

The issues are two-fold with Hall, as they are with any number of big ticket items available at the deadline. The first issue would be the prohibitive cost for a player who's a former No. 1 overall pick and a Hart Trophy winner as well. The Devils would be seeking something along the lines of the Ottawa haul for Mark Stone (forward and D-man prospects along with a high draft pick).

more

Video- Plays Of The Week

12/05/2019 at 2:51pm EST

Sportsnet style, 4 1/2 minutes long.

What's Next For Taro Hirose?

12/05/2019 at 2:01pm EST

from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,

A move down to the Grand Rapids Griffins, whether temporary or not, did not come as a surprise to Taro Hirose.

Self-evaluation told him that.

"I think when you're not playing and not playing well, as I don't think I was, there's always the reality that you can get sent down," he said after his first game with the Griffins and in the AHL. "I'm just looking at it as a positive and trying to get better while I'm down here."...

It's uncertain what happens next. Up top, Justin Abdelkader might be ready to return from injury, which could leave both player in Grand Rapids. If not, one of them is expected to return.

Based on recent outings, Zadina would appear the frontrunner. Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill had spoken about moving him to the first line and he had been practicing earlier this week on the power play unit.

Where could that leave Hirose? He said that's out of his hands.

read on

The Hockey Hall Of Fame Break-In

12/05/2019 at 1:53pm EST

from the CBC Archives,

It was a crime story involving the most famous trophy in Canada, which had allegedly been pilfered from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"The Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe trophies are more than symbols of hockey's greatness today," the CBC's John O'Leary told Update viewers on Dec. 5, 1970. "They and the [Bill] Masterton trophy are objects of a police search."...

The Toronto Star reported that an alarm at the museum did not go off as expected.

"One day a mouse set if off. Yet it doesn't work when the trophies are taken," the museum's curator and former Toronto Telegram reporter, Maurice (Lefty) Reid, told the paper.

It was later reported, however, that the stolen Stanley Cup was not the true, original trophy.

The one that was stolen, was the replica used for on-ice presentations.

"It's a perfect reproduction," said Campbell, when describing the stolen, but not-quite-true Stanley Cup trophy, according to a report by the Globe and Mail.

The missing Masterton and Smythe trophies, however, were the real deal.

Fortunately for hockey fans, the trophies were recovered just over two weeks after they were taken.

read on

Afternoon Line- Ryan Kennedy On Cale Makar

12/05/2019 at 12:07pm EST

Through one-third of the season, it feels like almost a lock that Makar will win the Calder Trophy and there’s even some Norris buzz – though Washington’s John Carlson is the front-runner right now. So with everyone knowing just how good the puck-moving Makar is already, is it getting harder to operate, or does his growing book of experience make things easier for the former UMass superstar?

-Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News who has more on Cale Makar.

What Happened To The New Jersey Devils?

12/05/2019 at 10:07am EST

from Dave Caldwell of the New York Times,

Fortified by the rookie center Jack Hughes and defenseman P.K. Subban, this season’s Devils team would be not just good; it would be fun and entertaining, a hot ticket. Goaltender Cory Schneider and forward Taylor Hall, the league’s most valuable player in 2018, appeared healthy after struggling with injuries the previous season.

Over the course of two dreadful months, though, it became obvious that something was terribly wrong. ...

“Everybody had higher expectations, but collectively as a group, our team, I don’t think there’s any one player who’s performing even at the level, let alone above, that we expect, or maybe they expect,” Shero said....

Subban, projected as a top-line stopper and power-play asset, has only two goals and a poor minus-12 rating. Forward Kyle Palmieri is the only Devils player with 10 goals. Hischier has five goals and Hughes has four. The Devils are 28th out of 31 N.H.L. teams in goals per game.

“Coming into the season, you had a lot of promise, a lot of expectations,” said Palmieri, a New Jersey native who joined the team in 2015. “My time in Jersey hasn’t come with a ton of expectations, as far as what we were expected to achieve.”

more

A Bad Home Loss For The Edmonton Oilers

12/05/2019 at 9:59am EST

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

How do you lose 5-2 to the floundering Ottawa Senators, a team that came off a fifth straight loss the night before on the coast, when you are a top of the tables team playing at home with two days of rest?

How does a sinking, at times stinking, draft lottery team now have a six-game winning streak in Edmonton?

I mean, come on.

Just when you start to toast this Oilers team for their growing character, developing culture and commitment to each other, they lose by three.

At home.

To Ottawa.

continued

The Senators beat the Oilers 5-2, watch the highlights below.

Now Is The Time For The Columbus Blue Jackets To Make A Playoff Push

12/05/2019 at 9:51am EST

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

The Jackets won at least 45 games in each of the previous three seasons. The consensus three months ago, then, was that they had built something that was greater than the sum of their parts. As their hype video says, “From out of our blue, we rise.”

The new season is one-third gone now. The Jackets (11-12-4, 26 points) are in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division and in 13th place in the Eastern Conference. Their 68 goals scored and minus-16 differential through 27 games put them among the most anemic teams in the league.

Old rule of thumb: The earlier a team can get into playoff position, the better. Over the previous six years, 74 of 96 teams in a playoff spot on Thanksgiving Day went on to clinch. On Thursday past, the Jackets were in seventh place in the wild-card standings. (Insert turkey joke here.)...

Although there is a lot of hockey yet to play, you will in the coming days get as good a gauge on these Jackets as you’re going to get. Remember all that talk about proving doubters wrong? About how the team would respond after losing Panarin, Bobrovsky, et al.? About how a strong locker room would coalesce in defiance? Now is the time.

The Jackets host Panarin and the New York Rangers on Thursday. The Jackets play at Florida on Saturday and will probably see Bobrovsky in net. The Jackets play the Ovechkins in Washington on Monday.

If they have an emotional response — if they rise — you will see what has largely been missing so far.

more

Questions For Khan

12/05/2019 at 8:48am EST

Ansar Khan of Mlive answers some fan mail.

Q: Have you ever, in all your time reporting, seen a team cry out louder for new coaching? – Peter

A: You can make a strong case for Jeff Blashill being replaced. The Red Wings have the fewest points in the NHL and rank last in goals for, goals against and the power play. They have lost eight in a row in regulation and are winless in 10. Coaches have been fired for less.

But this team is so thin on talent and skill that I don’t think it would make much difference who is coaching. Expectations were low entering the season. Blashill wasn't going to be judged as much on wins and losses as he was the team's compete level and growth of young players....

Q: (Andreas) Athanasiou is leading the league on the wrong side of the plus/minus stats. Will a change of scenery benefit him and the Wings if they get current or future help for him? – C Josefs

A: I think so. Athanasiou has been in the rumor mill before, notably during difficult contract negotiations that cost him the start of the 2017-18 season, but the Red Wings were right to keep him and were rewarded with a 30-goal season in 2018-19.

But while this season has been a struggle for virtually everyone on the roster, it has been particularly difficult for Athanasiou, who has five goals and 15 points in 28 games, along with an NHL-worst minus-31 rating.

more on each of the above questions plus more Q and A...

Go With The Flow

12/05/2019 at 8:24am EST

NEW YORK, December 5, 2019 –Today, the NHL and Disney Streaming Services launched GameFlow, a new interactive tool that leverages shot pressure data to provide fans with a visual depiction of a game’s momentum. Available exclusively in the NHL® mobile app, fans can access GameFlow during or after a game via Gamecenter to follow the flow of a game and track how offensive shot pressure corresponds to goals.

NHL Short Notes

12/05/2019 at 3:44am EST

THREE HARD LAPS

* Nathan MacKinnon factored on two of three Avalanche goals and became the 11th player in 2019-20 to collect multiple points in four consecutive games.

* Edmonton, Alta. native Tyler Ennis collected three points to help the Senators register their sixth straight win at Rogers Place.

* John Carlson scored twice, including the game-winning goal to eclipse the 100-goal mark and help the Capitals earn their second five-game win streak of the season (also: 6-0-0 from Oct. 25 - Nov. 9).


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