NHL 2015-16 Recap Week 20 – NHL trades, Finally an Outdoor success, John Tortorella is actually right and are the Ducks for real?
The Blackhawks see another Stanley Cup that is attainable and they want it. First to pull trades, the Blackhawks re-acquired Andrew Ladd. They also traded for Christian Ehrhoff, Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise. Ladd will probably be the only one to see major minutes. He’s paid off already with an assist in the Blackhawks win against the Capitals.
Another former Stanley Cup Champion of the Blackhawks, Kris Versteeg, ended up with the Kings. The last time the Kings made a big trade deadline deal they won the Stanley Cup. Will the same hold true here? They have a great shot of doing it even if Versteeg isn’t as big of a name as their previous deals.
The Maple Leafs traded goalie James Reimer to the Sharks for Alex Stalock. This makes little to no sense. Reimer was always disrespected in Toronto but that really only leaves Jonathan Bernier as their only option in goal. That’s not good, considering how much he has regressed this season. Unless the Maple Leafs feel Garrett Sparks is their man in net for the future. But it’s hard to tell that after only five games. Sharks made the trade to have better insurance in case Martin Jones gets injured. And no Alex Stalock is not the answer for the Maple Leafs.
The Panthers traded a boat load of picks for Jiri Hudler, Jakub Kindl and Teddy Purcell. Hudler is most notable because he will see the most playing time, probably, and he won a cup with the Red Wings. It’s nice that the Panthers are going for it. Still, I don’t think the Panthers are really going to do much. The Atlantic is going to be a super tough division, probably the hardest of the four.
Eric Staal Went from playing with his brother in Carolina to playing with his brother in New York. The Rangers gave up two picks and prospect Aleksi Saarela. The real loser in this trade? Jordan Staal and the Penguins. Jordan only went to Carolina to play with his brother which is now mute. The Penguins lost a key 3rd line center that they haven’t replaced yet. They went to their two Stanley Cups with Jordan. Granted, he can’t play defense but a 3rd line center is a necessity these days and he can move up when Crosby or Malkin get injured, which is frequent. Of course there’s a possibility Eric comes back to Carolina, in which case it doesn’t matter. For the Rangers, if Eric doesn’t resign, that’s a mighty expensive rental. I guess if they win the Stanley Cup it would be worth it but I don’t think this gets them there.
Please note: a lot of the trades mentioned above had picks and other players involved but as of this moment they aren’t significant. They may turn out to be later on but as of now they aren’t so I didn’t mention them.
Things I like
1. Well the third time was the charm for the NHL with the outdoor games. You had two playoff contending teams, snow that was harder than in Minnesota (still it didn’t really show when watching the game) and more importantly a close game. I really wanted an overtime but the Red Wings just had to ruin it. A great third period, where you’d be hard pressed to find three more entertaining goals scored. As usual Jeremy Roenick was in a fun bit where a kid told him to hit the gym to lose his weight. Poor Jeremy, always abused.
Things I don’t
1. Well it finally happened. I actually agree with John Tortorella on something. It’s hard to imagine how refs could spend so much time looking at a replay and still get the call wrong. It’s also a wonder why some challenges, that are pretty obvious, still take forever anyway. You could look at the video on one pass and tell if the call is correct or not. His quote: “I think they should get rid of it. I think we just get rid of it, and let the refs make the call. If we spend two or three minutes and a coach wastes his timeout to try and get it right, and we still get it wrong, then why have it?” He makes a good point. The call in question was Loui Eriksson’s goal in the 1st period of Monday’s game against the Bruins. You can see that Eriksson’s skate prevents goalie Joonas Korpisalo from putting his skate where he needs to be. This is basically the definition of goalie interference. The goal should not have counted. I am in favor of replay but get the calls right for goodness sake.
2. Speaking of calls. The Bruins vs Penguins had a doozy. Tom Kuhnhackl “scored” a goal by sliding his skates into the puck. I realize it needs to be a distinct kicking motion to not count but this is basically the same concept. Not much different than punching it in either. He saw the puck and he knew what he was doing. He purposely slid his skates to hit the puck so that it would go in the net. It’s not a legit hockey move. It’s basically the same thing as a kick but you’re doing it with both skates under the guise of stopping. The goal should not have counted. They need to rewrite the rule book.
3. Even though the Ducks are the hottest team this year and they just beat the Kings, there’s something about the Anaheim Ducks I don’t like. It could be because this is the same team that hasn’t had much recent success in the playoffs, has a coach that can’t win a Game 7 to save his life, has star players that don’t show up in a Game 7 and is basically the same team that started out abysmally and couldn’t score a goal to save their lives. Other than that, what’s not to like? O and if they don’t win the division, they will need to beat the Sharks, Kings and either the Stars or Blackhawks just to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Ya that’s happening.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Scott Wilson vs Landon Ferraro
A great back and forth scrap.
Goat of the Week
Olli Matta – Pittsburgh Penguins
The game ended up being a blowout so this didn’t really matter. And while I try to get turnovers in close games that matter, this was so bad it’s worth a mention. It just sums up the Penguins defense and why they can’t win any playoff games lately. Matta juts flings the puck towards the center from behind his own net. David Pastrnak capitalizes. That will work every time…..
James Reimer – Toronto Maple Leafs
It wasn’t the worst goalie playing the puck we’ve seen but just stay in your net. The Leafs ended up losing by one so it was important.
Stat Line of the Week
2/23/16 Nashville 3 vs. Toronto 2
Forsberg had a natural hat trick in the 1st and 2nd period against the Maple Leafs. He’s the youngest Predator to record a hat trick in franchise history. He scored the only Predator goals and that was enough as the Maple Leafs comeback fell short. A few days later, Forsberg had another natural hat trick against the Blues. Forsberg was a great pick and one of the few offensive weapons the Predators have. The Predators have won four straight.
Connor McDavid Calder Watch
McDavid has only two points in his last four games. His Calder outlook is not looking good at the moment.
500 – Career points for Claude Giroux
8 – Seasons with at least 40 goals for Alex Ovechkin
54 – Assists for Erik Karlsson, tops in the NHL. Significant because no defenseman has lead the NHL in assists this century.
.930 – Thomas Greiss leading the NHL in SV% from out of nowhere
1 – Movie about John Scott being made. I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it… But there’s not enough there for a movie to be made. Just let it be.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
3. Tampa Bay
4. Los Angeles
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.