- Toronto’s 2-1 win over New Jersey — ending the Devils’ 13-game win streak — was one of the best games of the regular season for pure entertainment, energy and drama. Last year, I was talking to one player about the Stanley Cup Final between Colorado and Tampa Bay. He referred to both defence corps as “long,” saying that when you have big, you have mobile and you have discipline in a system, “Every time you get through one body, arm or stick, there’s another body, arm, or stick right away. It’s a battle to get through.”
According to official heights and weights, Cale Makar was listed as the smallest regular (five-foot-11, 187 pounds) in the final. The Devils are dangerous offensively and occupy the puck, which helps the defence. But they are also much better at gap control and similarly are being described as “long.” Their smallest defender — John Marino, having a great start to the year — is six-foot-one, 181 pounds. It’s waaay too premature to compare them to Colorado or Tampa Bay, but I think it’s interesting to hear them described in that way.
- When Patric Hornqvist accepted his trade to Florida, there was discussion that he wouldn’t get moved again. So, the Panthers may have to explore other options to clear cap space for Anthony Duclair's return.
- At last week’s GM Meetings, there was a conversation about calling more penalty shots instead of power-plays — something I totally support. That led to another debate among a few of us: should the team that draws the penalty have the option of going on the power-play or taking a penalty shot? Shooters are 5-for- 11 on penalty shots in 2022-23 after goalies stopped 76 per cent of last year’s attempts. There are good variables to weigh. Who’s shooting? How good is your power-play? Philadelphia GM Chuck Fletcher had a good line, though, saying: “It will be tough to explain to a player if you have a horrible power-play and go that route instead of letting him shoot.”