NHL Recap Week 11 – A quick look at all of the recent key trades, Alex Ovechkin on fire, Carolina and Winnipeg on a freefall and more
Last week we looked at the the big trade for Jarome Iginla, let’s take a look at some of the other key trade acquisitions. The Dallas Stars were seemingly having an everything must go sale and Jaromir Jagr ended up going to Boston as an Iginla consolation prize. The likelihood that he ends up staying long tern with the Bruins is pretty slim though. However, he did already start paying dividends scoring the only goal, albeit off his skates, in a win against New Jersey. The Flyers and Blue Jackets swapped goalies, Michael Leighton for Steve Mason respectively. At first glance this is just a trade of backup goalies but it may be more than that. Ilya Bryzgalov has been somewhat of a disappointment for the Flyers, then again so has the whole team, and they may be setting themselves up to dump his contract if Mason plays well.
The Blue Jackets traded a whole bunch of players for Marian Gaborik in an ironic twist. Ironic because they are the ones usually doing the dumping, see Jeff Carter and Rick Nash. Nash was also traded to the Rangers so maybe they can look at it as a straight up trade of Nash for Gaborik? In any case Gaborik was in the Rangers doghouse, not sure why or how they let it get to that point when he’s scored over 40 goals twice for them in previous seasons, and it wasn’t getting any better but he has already paid dividends for the Blue Jackets scoring three points in three games. Ryan Clowe left the only team he has ever known, San Jose Sharks, for the Rangers. For the first time he now has an over a point per game scoring average. He will fit nicely with the Rangers. Ben Bishop was a big acquisition for the Tampa Bay Lightning, see Stat Line of the Week below, and has the potential to be the man in net for some time to come. It’s probably to late for the Lightning to make a playoff push but better late than never in fixing the goalie issue.
The biggest trade that didn’t happen was Roberto Luongo staying in Vancouver. As he stated himself, when answering questions on the podium with the media, it’s his contract’s fault. In a way you feel sorry for him and in a way you don’t. As a player you understand that you only have a little bit of time to get the big money contract so you understand why he did it. However that long of a contract at a position that is constantly under a microscope, and easiest to tell when you make a mistake, should make goalies and management in the future not make such contracts again.
Things I Like
1. Alex Ovechkin was left for dead by many, including me, but he has been on fire as of late and is now tied for 1st in the NHL in goals. He netted his 2nd hat trick of the season against the Panthers and he previously was on a 9 game point streak. What would make things interesting is whether Ovechkin can keep up his current pace and whether the Capitals can win the division. If both of those things happen, Ovechkin has a great chance to win the Hart Trophy.
2. Who is the quietest team that has been winning that nobody seems to notice? The Vancouver Canucks. Being on the West Coast and being overshadowed by Chicago and Anaheim, the Canucks have quietly won eight of their past ten games and have leapfrogged Minnesota for the Northwest division lead. Nobody on the Canucks is really tearing it up but they are playing solid. Also of note is that Ryan Kesler is still injured and has only played seven games so far this season. It seems likely he will return right before the end of the regular season, as he is skating again, and should provide an additional boost to the team.
Things I don’t
1. A few weeks ago it seemed like a sure thing that either the Carolina Hurricanes or the Winnipeg Jets would win the Southeast division. Now that couldn’t seem more unlikely. Both have been in a tailspin downward losing key games in droves. In the last 20 games (10 for each) the two teams have a combined 4-15-1 record. Washington on the other hand is 8-1-1 in their last 10 and they now control their own fate. Washington plays both Winnipeg and Carolina one more time this season.
2. The post Jarome Iginla and Mikka Kiprusoff era does not look good in Calgary at all. Other than the win against the worst team in the NHL, the Avalanche, the Flames haven’t won since Iginla was traded. In two games without Kiprusoff, Joey MacDonald has given up 3 and then 8 goals. Granted he did beat the Avalanche but that is the Avalanche. The long rebuild won’t be fun or pretty but it has been long overdue. Calgary is also the 3rd oldest team in the league so a little youth infusion is needed.
3. Edmonton had won five straight before dropping two games to the Kings and Canucks respectively. But as mentioned last week they have one of the toughest remaining schedules including three games with the Ducks. Currently in 11th place, four points out of the last playoff spot, it seems that even though this has been a fairly successful season the Oilers will come up short on earning a playoff berth. On the positive side they have a young deep team and it looks like Devan Dubnyk is the long term answer in goal.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Ryane Clowe vs Deryk Engelland
A pretty good fight that suffers from crappy camera angles.
Antoine Roussel vs Emerson Etem
Emerson Etem’s fight debut after a cheap shot against one of his teammates. A pretty even fight.
Goats of the Week
Joni Pitkanen and Marc-Andre Bergeron – Carolina Hurricanes
With a tie game in the 2nd period Joni Pitkanen passes the puck poorly out of his own goal that leads to a goal and down by one later in the 2nd period on a powerplay in a game Marc-Andre Bergeron made his on careless pass trying to gain entry into the Capitals zone which also led to a Capitals goal. Both mistake doomed the slumping Hurricanes in a game they really needed to win.
Stat Line of the Week
04/04/13 Tampa Bay 5 vs. Carolina 0
In his debut game for the Lightning Ben Bishop earned a shutout on 45 saves on a night in which he was under siege most of the time. The Lightning hope they have found their goalie of the future, something they desperately need.
0 – Number of Penguins overtime losses
0 – Number of shutouts for Henrik Lundqvist so far this season, yup still 0
97 – Shots on goal in the Bruins vs Senators game on April 2nd
89 – Goals scored by the Avalanche, the only team not to score above 90
364 – PIM for the Rangers, last in the NHL, a stark contrast from previous seasons
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
April 1, 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning won their first Eastern Conference Championship, with a 4-3 win over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. Martin St. Louis scored twice in the final period for the win.
April 2, 1989 Troy Murray’s goal 48 seconds into overtime gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs, and gave the Blackhawks a playoff spot over Toronto on the final night of the season.
April 3, 1988 Calgary’s Hakan Loob became the first Swedish-born player to score 50 goals in an NHL season. Loob passed the previous high of 49 set by former teammate Kent Nilsson with Calgary in 1980-81. Flames won 4-1 over the Minnesota North Stars.
April 4, 1986 Calgary defenseman Gary Suter set an NHL record for most assists in one game by a rookie, with six in the Flames 9-3 win over the Oilers, in Calgary. Joe Mullen added two goals and three assists for the Flames.
April 5, 1991 Rookie Jaromir Jagr scored the game winner at 8:52 of overtime as the Penguins beat New Jersey 5-4 in Game Two of the Patrick Division Semi-Finals, in Pittsburgh. It was Jagr’s first career playoff goal.
April 6, 1986 Mario Lemieux scored the second fastest overtime goal in Penguins’ history, with a goal just :25 into OT, for a 5-4 win over the Rangers, in New York.
April 7, 1964 Norm Ullman scored a hat trick and added two assists as the Red Wings beat the Black Hawks 7-2 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
2. San Jose
27. New Jersey