NHL 2016-17 Recap Week 21 – NHL trades, Blackhawks on fire, Maple Leafs folding, Officiating getting worse and much more
The NHL deadline has come and gone. No really big moves but a few significant ones. Bishop and Hanzal were discussed last week so I’m not going to rehash them this week. The biggest move was the Capitals acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk from the Blues. They did this with their eye on bolstering their defense when they play against the Penguins in the playoffs. Not sure if that will be enough. The Capitals seem to be doomed more by bad luck more than anything else.
The Avalanche surprisingly made almost no moves. Which makes you wonder if they even have a strategy. The only move they made was a favor. That was trading Jarome Iginla to the Kings. Not a bad move by the Kings as, unlike with Bishop, they don’t give up much if anything (conditional 4th round pick). Ironically though, if the Flames make the playoffs this season and the Kings don’t, which is likely, both Iginla and the Flames would have made the playoffs twice each since he left. Meaning, with no Stanley Cups to his name since he left, Iginla should have just stayed.
The only other notable moves were: The Canucks trading Alexandre Burrows to the Senators. Signaling the start of their rebuild. The Stars sending Johnny Oduyaback back to the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks will be happy to have him for another run. Not sure what the benefit is for the Stars. The Red Wings traded their second leading scorer, Thomas Vanek, to the Florida Panthers. Effectively throwing in the towel on their playoff streak.
All in all, I don’t think any of these trades will have much effect on anything. Only the Hanzal and Shattenkirk deals could put a team over the top.
Things I like
1. The Chicago Blackhawks are hot. They’ve now won seven in a row and that’s bad news for the rest of the NHL. Unlike the Metropolitan team streaks, this streak is happening at the time in the season where you want to be hot. To make matters worse for everyone else, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are both hot. Kane has 17 points in his last 10 games and Toews has 15 points in his last 9 games. Then there’s backup goalie Scott Darling with the second best SV% in the NHL at .931%. It’s beginning to look like Stanley Cup number four is on the horizon.
Things I don’t
1. I always hate it when bad officiating mars a good game. The Canadiens scored a goal in overtime after Sergei Bobrovsky misplayed the puck after making a great save because he didn’t know where it was. It was whistled dead because I guess they couldn’t see the puck. But the puck crossed the line and the whistle seemed to blow after doing so. Then after what felt like an hour of review, the ref says no goal without explaining why that is. They follow it up with a pretty weak holding call on Seth Jones. He sort of grabbed him on the arm but that’s not something you call in an overtime game. John Tortorella was livid and the Canadiens scored on the power play. So two bad calls later, the game ends the way it should. With a Canadiens win. I know the game is fast paced but the officiating seems really bad this season.
2. The Toronto Maple Leafs were in a top three division spot just a couple of weeks ago. But they have now lost five games in a row and seven of their last nine. They are a young team but I’d hate to see them self destruct down the stretch. A few of those loses we in the overtime and shootout. The Maple Leafs actually have 14 overtime or shootout loses this season. That’s by far the most in the NHL. That’s a lot of points to leave on the table. Surprisingly, the Leafs are only one point back of a playoff spot. Their next five games are all against teams with worse records. So it’s imperative they pick up points in games they should win.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to http://hockeyfights.com for making this section a lot easier to do.
Gabriel Landeskog vs Sean Couturier
A decent enough fight. More of a grapplefest.
Jordin Tootoo vs Cody McLeod
A good back and forth scrap.
Goat of the Week
James Neal – Nashville Predators
In almost a carbon copy of last week, James Neal apparently learned nothing since then. Trying to do to much, Neal finds himself almost out of the zone, again, and does a no look behind the back pass that gets picked off. Paul Byron pushes it the other way for the game winning goal with 8 seconds left in the game. This one was worse than last week because of the time left but also because there was literally no Canadien on he other side of the ice. So he could of skated over there or just hit the puck off the boards for a safer play.
Blake Comeau – Colorado Avalanche
Then there was whatever the hell this is. The game was way over but I’ve never seen anyone pass on a breakaway in which there was no defender in front of or parallel to him. Long live the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche.
Stat Line of the Week
2/28/17 Nashville 5 vs. Buffalo 4
Filip Forsberg continued his hot play and delivered for the Predators when they needed it the most. He figured into the last three goals of the game. He assisted on a goal to get them within one, he tied the game with a goal and then took the puck from one end of the ice to the other for the game winning goal in overtime. He has 15 points in his last eight games.
123 – Goals scored by the Colorado Avalanche, last in the NHL by 24 goals
15 – Game home winning streak for the Washington Capitals, a franchise record
1 – Player each in the top 30 in plus minus for the Sharks and Blackhawks, a little odd
43 – Saves in his 43rd NHL game for journeyman Richard Bachman
1.13 – Points per game average this season for Connor McDavid
1.21 – Points per game average this season for Sidney Crosby
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
February 27, 1995 Pittsburgh’s Luc Robitaille scored twice and added two assists in the second period as the Penguins scored seven times in the second period, in a 7-5 win over the Nordiques, in Quebec City.
February 28, 1923 Ottawa Senators beat Hamilton 6-3 in Ottawa, to clinch first place in the NHL for the fourth time in the NHL’s first six years — the Senators went on to win the Stanley Cup for the third time in four years.
March 01, 1995 Quebec defenseman Uwe Krupp scored the first hat trick of his NHL career and added an assist, and Mike Ricci picked up 4 assists as the Nordiques won 8-2 over the visiting Lightning. Krupp was the only defenseman to score a hat trick in ’94-95.
March 02, 1994 Montreal’s Jacques Demers recorded his 350th career victory, in a 5-2 Canadiens’ win at Anaheim. Demers became the 17th coach in NHL history to win 350 games. The victory improved his all time record to 350-338-101.
March 03, 1981 Islanders’ Mike Bossy scored four goals and an assist as New York tied 8-8 with the visiting Oilers. It was Bossy’s ninth hat trick of the season, setting an NHL record (later broken by Gretzky).
March 04, 1981 Montreal’s Guy Lafleur scored two goals to become the 15th player in NHL history to score 1,000 career points. He helped the Canadiens to a 9-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
March 05, 1996 Boston’s Joe Mullen played in his 1,000th career NHL game, and goaltender Bill Ranford appeared in NHL game #500 when the Bruins lost 5-3 to the Islanders, at Long Island.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
5. Tampa Bay
28. New Jersey
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.