NHL 2016-17 Recap Week 14 – NHL All-Star rosters announced, Capitals go streaking, Hurricanes get hot and more
NHL All-Star Rosters were released and there were only a few eyebrow raising inclusions and omissions. For some reason Jonathan Toews was made an All-Star despite having his worst season ever. Speculation is, he was chosen because he will be named one of the top 100 players. That’s fine, he doesn’t need to be an All-Star too. It’s not like he couldn’t fly out to Los Angeles just for that ceremony. The are other players more deserving this season than him. Another somewhat odd choice is Mike Smith but all the Pacific Division goalies are pretty much lumped together and the Coyotes needed to have somebody go. Only Chad Johnson has decent numbers in that division but he’s in his first season with the Flames and has played the fewest games.
But related to that, I don’t really like the rule that somebody needs to come from each team. If the team has no good players then they don’t send anybody. There aren’t that many spots and the people that should go are the ones that are playing the best. The only team that really needs to have players be there is the host city.
It’s a shame Cam Atkinson isn’t on the roster but with the abundance of talented forwards in the Metropolitan division, it’s hard to make it. Whether Wayne Simmons should have been selected over teammates Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux is debatable. Mark Scheifele, Nicklas Backstrom, Eric Staal, David Pastrnak, Joe Pavelski, Nikolaj Ehlers and Leon Draisaitl all deserved to be included as well. But there’s only so much room. Quite frankly, with the forwards and goalies on the Metropolitan roster, I’d be amazed if anyone but them one. But I thought the Pacific Division was the weakest last season and they ended up winning.
The NHL also removed the breakaway challenge during the skills competition. I personally don’t care. It had some funny moments but there are only so many prop related things you can do. The stick handling was more impressive but a lot of times they wouldn’t actually score. The same was true with the prop stuff. Or they would just wear shades and a cape and expect that to be impressive. It’s not.
Things I like
1. The Penguins, Flyers and Blue Jackets have all had a chance to streak and now it’s the Capitals turn. The Capitals are working on an eight game streak during which they stopped the Blue Jackets streak. As with other Metropolitan Division streaks, the Capitals are scoring tons of goals. They have 26 goals in there last six games and that includes a 1-0 win. One of their last wins was a 6-0 thrashing of the Blackhawks. When you beat the top team in the east and the west by a combined score of 11-0, you are obviously clicking. Then then followed that up with a 5-0 win against the Flyers. Scoring four goals in about five minutes. Let’s also not forget their big win against the Penguins where Alex Ovechkin scored his 1000th career point. The Capitals are also giving up the least amount of goals in the NHL. Nicklas Backstrom has come on strong with 12 points in his last six games. Of course we’ve seen all of this before and it translated to nothing in the playoffs. It’s still impressive nonetheless.
2. Another Metropolitan team on the rise is the Carolina Hurricanes to the surprise of many. Particularly me, who thought they were a terrible team. But when you thrash the Canadiens 7-1, you can’t be that bad. Brock McGinn, Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner have been three of the hottest players as of late. Staal and Skinner will rule the roost for awhile but McGinn, Victor Rask and Teuvo Teravainen are starting to emerge. Ironically, the Hurricanes are first in penalty minutes and penalty killing percentage. But you get good at something you are forced to do often. The Hurricanes are now just a point behind the Flyers for the final wild card spot, with three games in hand. It seems unlikely the Hurricanes can maintain their momentum but that’s why they play the games.
3. Don’t look now but the Toronto Maple Leafs are now third in the Atlantic division after a great game against the Senators, the team they just leapfrogged in the standings. The Maple Leafs have defied expectations in Auston Matthews rookie season. But Matthews doesn’t play like a rookie. On the go ahead goal against the Senators, Matthews purposely lost the face-off and then went back to retrieve the puck first and made a nice pass to set up the goal. That’s a veteran move. With the Panthers and Lightning struggling, it seems likely that the Maple Leafs will make the playoffs as the 3rd seed. But there’s still half a season to go.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a lot easier to do.
Adam McQuaid vs Derek Grant
A long fight between two big guys. McQuaid pops him good at the end.
Brandon Manning vs Nicolas Deslauriers
Another long fight, Deslauriers had the upper hand in this one.
Goats of the Week
All Devils involved in the line change
In the middle of overtime, two Devils go to change when Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are on the ice and have the puck. Definitely not the smartest move. They promptly score on the 2 on1.
Peter Budaj – Los Angeles Kings
As if you need another reason why a goalie shouldn’t leave his crease to play the puck, I give you this clip. Budaj thinks he’s helping but he plays the puck poorly and doesn’t get reset in the crease, in time, to be of much help. Jiri Hudler scored his first goal of the season on the play.
Stat Line of the Week
1/14/17 Boston 6 vs. Philadelphia 3
Brad Marchand had a shorthanded and empty net goal to go along with three assists in his 500th NHL game. He had a hand in all but one Bruins’ goal.
1003 – Career Points for Alex Ovechkin
880 – Games it took Ovechkin to reach 1000 points, second fastest in NHL history
763 – Games it took Jaromir Jagr to do the same, the fastest in NHL history
247 – Goals scored by Anze Kopitar to pass Wayne Gretzky for 6th all time in Kings franchise history
501 – Career points for John Tavares
3- Goals in 62 seconds for the Canadiens in a comeback win over the Rangers
1.13 – Points per game average this season for Connor McDavid
1.28 – 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.
January 09, 1958 Montreal’s Bernie Geoffrion scored his 6th career hat trick and added two assists, and Bert Olmstead had a goal and four assists as the Canadiens won 11-2 against the Black Hawks, at the Forum.
January 10, 1976 John Bucyk became the first player to score 500 goals as a member of the Boston Bruins. The milestone came in a 3-2 win against the visiting Oakland Seals.
January 11, 1934 Boston goalie Tiny Thompson and Black Hawks’ Chuck Gardiner dueled to a 0-0 scoreless tie, in a game played at Chicago. It was the 42nd career shutout for Thompson and the 38th for Gardiner.
January 12, 1947 The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were on hand as guests of New York management, as the Rangers beat Toronto 3-2. Edgar Laprade led the scoring with a goal and an assist.
January 13, 2004 Roman Cechmanek became the fastest active goaltender to record 25 career shutouts (in only 185 starts) as the Kings tied 0-0 at Nashville. Predators’ rookie Chris Mason recorded his first career shutout.
January 14, 1940 New York Rangers lost to Chicago 2-1, ending their team-record 10 game winning streak. The Rangers came back to win the next five games for a total of 15 wins in 16 starts.
January 15, 1981 Calgary’s rookie goalie Reggie Lemelin recorded his second career shutout, and Kent Nilsson scored his second career hat trick and added three assists as the Flames won 10-0 over the visiting Detroit Red Wings.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.