NHL 2015-16 Recap Week 15 – Jonathan Drouin is an idiot, Atlantic division separation, John Scott is an All-Star again?, Too many NHL back to backs
Jonathan Drouin is an idiot. And if I’m a general manager of an NHL team, I do not want him on my team. One could argue that he wasn’t given a fair shake with the Lightning but it hasn’t even been two full whole season yet so it’s hard to really state that case. Maybe he thinks he’s entitled to more as the 3rd overall pick in the 2103 draft but nothing is guaranteed in life and entitlement gets you nowhere.
It’s bad enough when your agent leaks that you want a trade but it’s worse when you flat out refuse to play in the AHL. You are a professional hockey player getting paid to play hockey. Play hockey. If you don’t like your demotion, then go down to the AHL and rip it up. Score five goals in a game and prove them wrong. Make every team want you. But it’s unlikely that would happen, seeing as how he has just six points in nine career AHL games. Now the Lightning have suspended him for not showing up and it’s just a big mess. But he’s really just dug himself deeper. The Lightning don’t have to trade him, he’s getting rusty, he hasn’t really delivered in the big leagues when he was playing and now he will be known as a whiner/petulant child. The glory days of the QMJHL seem so long ago.
Things I like
1. Thursday night in the NHL had some really great match-ups. You had a few Stanley Cup Finals rematches with the Bruins and Canucks and the Lightning and the Blackhawks. A grudge match between the Penguins and Flyers and two up and coming teams the Oilers and Stars against each other. All were great games that were one goal games, sans empty net goal in Boston. In Pittsburgh, the Flyers got within one goal late in the 3rd period. They had a few really juicy attempts to tie in the closing seconds but missed on both badly. In Tampa, the Lighting snapped the Blackhawks franchise record win streak of 12 and increased their own win streak to 7, while getting some Stanley Cup revenge.
2. The Atlantic division is becoming more and more clear as we move into the second half of the season. The teams at top have been rising (Tampa Bay and Florida) while the teams at the bottom are sinking (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo). Toronto and Buffalo never really had a chance but Montreal, especially, and Ottawa were pretty entrenched at the top for awhile. We all l know what Ottawa did last season to get into the playoffs and it’s possible history could repeat itself. We are starting to see that Carey Price was one of the primary reasons that Canadiens had success. Price had two shutouts in 12 starts while three other goalies have combined for zero shutouts in 35 starts. Ouch. Boston is just kind of teetering on the Mendoza line. It seemed likely, at one point, the Atlantic would get five teams in the playoffs but now it seems like it might be four, or even possibly three.
Things I don’t
1. Speaking of Tampa Bay and Florida, they had an important game for 1st place in the Atlantic division but apparently the Lightning didn’t get the memo. After a scoreless 1st period the Panthers scored four in the 2nd. In the 3rd period the Lightning pulled their goalie with about 8 minutes left to play. Quite a gutsy move but it didn’t really work out for them. The Panthers scored an empty net goal before the Lightning scored one more goal. The win was in front of a sellout crowd which is impressive, because you can count the number of sellouts the Panthers have had this season on one hand.
2. Letting John Scott back into the All-Star game. Why go through all the trouble of trading him to the other conference just to give in to the fans lame attempts of boycotting the All-Star game? Ratings aren’t that high for the game but I’m sure the boycott would only decrease the ratings a tick. There’s a good chance they probably thought it wasn’t going to lead to outrage but nice backup plan of giving in. I’m going out on a limb, not really, in saying that he will get the least amount of playing time in the games. And when he does play, well let’s just say he’s going to have a hard time keeping up with the pace of the game. Here’s to picking the rosters first, then having the fans vote on the captains, or just limiting it to the top 25 scorers in each division.
3. Sports Illustrated had a good article on back to back games in the NHL, specifically a Washington Capitals’ back to back. But I found the amount of back to back games played disturbing. This season there are a combined 412 back to back game sets which averages out to about 14 per NHL team. Or 14 to many. There’s really no reason NHL teams should be playing back to back games. The season is over six months long and most teams play an average of three games a week. So that gives you plenty of time for games since there are 7 days in a week. I understand that scheduling conflicts will necessitate some back to backs or if you’re playing the Islanders and Rangers or Ducks and Kings on a road trip it makes sense. But 14? It should only be 5 max. Most teams don’t win their second game and they really are at unfair disadvantage. This is something I would really like to see fixed considering some weeks they don’t play for four or five days.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Cody Bass vs Mark Stuart
Fairly boring in the beginning but it gets better. Just the one fight this week.
Goats of the Week
A few goats this week.
Linden Vey – Vancouver Canucks
In a crazy 3rd period of a sometimes close game, Vey ended up knocking the puck into his own net and helping the Penguins rally and ultimately win by a goal.
Willie Mitchell – Florida Panthers
Mitchell just kind of passed it right to the Oilers in his own zone. Not good.
Anders Nilsson – Edmonton Oilers
In a tie game, Nilsson decides to play the puck very badly way outside his crease. You might want to rethink that in a tie game in the 3rd period. The Oilers ended up losing by two.
Stat Line of the Week
1/23/16 Pittsburgh 5 vs. Vancouver 4
This was a wild game that saw six goals scored in the 3rd period and two hat tricks. One from Evgeni Malkin and one from the Canucks’ Jannik Hansen. Malkin had a powerplay goal and then later an unassisted and regular goal back to back. This was a big win for a Penguins team that was down 3-1 in the 3rd period but rallied back with four in the period. Malkin’s been the Penguins leading scorer all season long and he help lead them in this game.
5 – Players with a chance to hit fifty goals this season
3 – Players with a realistic shot at 100 points this season
16 – Point differential between Patrick Kane and Jamie Benn
14.9 – Powerplay percentage for the Flames, dead last in the NHL
75.0 – Penalty kill percentage for the Flames, dead last in the NHL
348 – Goals for Daniel Sedin becoming the all-time Canucks leader in goals scored
1500 – Games officiated by linesman Pierre Racicot
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
2. San Jose
3. Tampa Bay
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.