I know it’s the end of the season and most teams don’t have a lot of games left, so suspending someone means potentially suspending someone for a playoff game or two. And I therefore know the NHL starts adding that crazy informal calculus where a game in the playoffs is worth two in the regular season and probably like 45 in the preseason.
Marchand is an amazing and dirty player at the same time and he has a rap sheet as long as Zdeno Chara’s stick. Earning the benefit of the doubt on that play is not something he should be able to do. A max fine is a joke.
Likewise, the DOPS decision that Hartnell’s punishment of a major penalty was enough is frankly baffling, considering he ended a player’s season and the guy got stretchered off. Like it or not, the league suspends to the injury and Antipin got extremely injured on that play.
So it really doesn’t make sense that neither of them got suspended, except to say that the playoffs start in a week and they took ‘er easy because they don’t wanna jam up Nashville or Boston, the two best teams in the league. Seems insanely fair and good, to me.
6. Job security
Saw where the subprime loans guy said he really likes Bill Peters as the coach of the Hurricanes going forward.
Look, man, I don’t know how many times this team has to underperform relative to expectations with this guy, because someone is always scapegoated for it and it’s never ever the coach. I know their underlying numbers are good but they have been for forever and their goalscoring and prevention never follows suit.
I’m starting to think maybe this is like a Darryl Sutter Lite situation, where he probably is a decent enough coach but his system depresses shooting percentages and, in this case, save percentages. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes don’t have the kind of Hall of Fame talent the Kings did when they were elite, so they’re not getting the results LA did once upon a time.
And hey, maybe just maybe it’s time to make a change behind the bench, especially because that new GM will probably want one. Ahh, right, well, maybe you gotta get a new GM first too. Hmm.
5. Being Claude Julien
Pretty strong words from Habs bench boss Claude Julien as the team came to the end of a dead-end season: “Some players have to get better or we have to get better players.”
Somewhere in the Bell Centre, you could almost hear Marc Bergevin saying, “Get….. better players?” A novel concept, I know, but hear me out here: What if they did?
The problem is that the current management group doesn’t really have a good track record of identifying what constitutes a “better player” than what they already had on hand, but if the organization also tries to get a “better general manager” maybe something can change.
The problem of course is the problem many bad teams have, which is that they have a lot of not-good players on even worse contracts, and not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to addressing that issue. Makes it tough, right? So Julien’s threat might be an idle one. I will also say, in defense of a lot of those young Montreal players, I don’t know how much better you can expect them to be.
4. Healthy-scratching Jack Johsnon
Isn’t it so interesting that Jack Johnson is eating a lot of press box popcorn these days and Columbus is doing very well?
I mean, look, everyone knows Johnson has been quite bad for a very long time, but the team had to keep playing him because that’s a lot of money to stuff in the press box when you’re mediocre. Then last year they were winning all those games and it wasn’t because they had improved much in the offseason, but Johnson was having a decent year by his standards and is the kind of guy John Tortorella loves. So he stayed in the lineup.
But then this year, they had more talented defensemen to choose from, Johnson didn’t feel he was getting his due (despite leading the team in PK time for reasons unknowable) and requested a trade. It didn’t happen, and now that the team’s in crunch time, Johnson isn’t seeing the ice at all and he’s mad about it. You’d expect him to be and it’s fine that he is — he’s a competitor!, etc. — but also like, he should have been getting healthied like three years ago so if anything, he should be thanking the organization for letting him play as much as he has and not trading him.
3. Calling it a day
Seems like Erik Karlsson fully expects to be traded this summer and has played his last game for the Senators. He’s probably going to finish second on the team in scoring this year (62 points in 71 games) behind Mark Stone.
The last time he didn’t lead the Sens in scoring was the lockout season, in which he got severely injured by Matt Cooke (sparking the CSI investigation) and even then he had 14 points in 17 games, while the leading scorer had 29 in 48.
Don’t cry because it’s over, Sens fans. Cry because he was too good for this franchise for too long and now he’s going to a nice farm upstate where he can probably win a meaningful game without it being a total fluke.
2. The Leafs
On March 10, the Leafs beat the Penguins 5-2 at home, snapping a four-game losing streak. Including that night, they’ve now won 9 of 12, and it’s like, “Uh oh.” Especially because they have five power-play goals in the last three games.
One wonders exactly how tough an out this team is going be, because they’ve been maybe the most up-and-down actual-good team in the East this year. They’re insanely talented but I can easily see a scenario where they just play like trash for four straight games and lose in six.
1. *sadly* And tweeeeeeins
The Sedin twins are retiring and I am very much of at least three minds on the matter. I’ll try to think of more as I go here.
On the one hand: It is good that they’re retiring now, when they’re still half-decent second-line forwards, and are not going to either try to test free agency or return to this rotting husk of a Canucks roster. They are leaving at the exact right time for them to leave. Moreover, announcing it with a few games to go gives the hockey world the proper opportunity to mourn their passing. Every testimonial from former teammates, media people, fans, etc., is a beautiful recognition of how good they were on and off the ice. They were the very best of what this sport can be and I love them.
On the other hand: It sucks that they are leaving now because you hate to be reminded of the passage of time. Go look up their videos on YouTube of them toying with some rotten Albertan team of the mid-2000s. Cycling for three and a half minutes straight against the Oilers, quintuple-passing around a befuddled Flames defenseman, or the time that Henrik passed it through Antti Niemi’s five-hole on a 2-on-1 with Alex Burrows. We will probably never see their like again, because hockey really isn’t their kind of game anymore. To have lived in the time of legends is a tremendous gift, but their passing into the hockey afterlife.
On a third hand: It really wasn’t thaaaaaat long ago (we’re talking only about a decade) that people in Vancouver, including the media, were saying stuff like, “These aren’t first-line players and never will be,” which is the kind of talk that springs up around elite players on bad teams. “Can’t win with those guys,” and all that. It’s nice that people saw the error of their ways once the team around them got Actually Good but their greatness took all too long to be appreciated; maybe having like Taylor Pyatt as their top-line wing option was more of a detriment than their own skills. Guess there’s no way to know.
Okay I thought of a fourth hand: I’m now really worried about what becomes of the Canucks. They’re going to have $20 million in cap space or something like that this summer and while this year’s crop of free agents is pretty good as UFA classes go, you know they’re closer to a big-money deal for a guy like Clayton Stoner and not Mark Stone, if you follow me. A lot of cap space in the hands of a GM who can’t be relied upon to spend it wisely is a scary thing, and it should be noted that, as a rebuilding team, just because you have cap space doesn’t mean you have to use it.
Anyway, I don’t know what this means for the Canucks but I know it means the Sedins won’t have to deal with whatever this mess is anymore. And that’s really nice to think about.
(Not ranked this week: Big injuries.
Like half the playoff teams in the league saw an important player get hurt in the past few days (Ryan Suter, John Gibson, Cam Fowler, Steven Stamkos, and probably more I’m forgetting). Seems like that isn’t good for those teams. Meanwhile, Charlie McAvoy is back in the Bruins lineup after missing a month and Rick Nash is skating again. Like they need the damn help.)
(All statistics via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)