Tag: drew doughty

Norris Trophy Finalist Discussion

Well, well, well would look at this here. The NHL once again snubbed players for the Norris trophy. Year after year this happens and this year they messed up BIG time.

This year’s finalists are Drew Doughty(LAK), Victor Hedman(TBL) and P.K. Subban (NSH)

Doughty ended the year with 10 goals, 50 assists, 60 points ranked 7th among defenseman in points, playing all 82 games also not to mention. 11th among defenseman in plus/minus with a +23, tied for 16th for power-play points with 20 points. Finally ranked 1st for the defenseman with 26:50 average time on ice.

Victor Hedman played 77 games this season ranked 5th among defenseman with 63 points, 17 goals and 46 assists, second among plus/minus with a +32, 5th for power-play points with 26, lastly 5th among defenseman for time on ice per game with 25:51.

P.K. Subban played 82 games this season, ranked 9th among defenseman with 16 goals and 43 assists, ranked 20th in plus/minus with a +18 rating, ranked 7th for power-play points with 25 and 21st for time ice per game with 24:07.

NHL Norris Trophy FinalistWhat is the fuss? Oh well, the fact John Carlson nor John Klingberg were finalists is the fuss. At least one of them for christ sake. If you look at the supporting cast of all these finalists how could they not perform to be the best in the league year in and year out? In L.A. you have Doughty playing alongside Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, the late addition of Dion Phaneuf, Derek Forbort(not terrible, had 18 points this season), Christian Folin(again not bad had 13 points in 65 games). Either way, the Kings have four very solid defenseman that supplements Doughty quite well. Yes, he is the driving factor in L.A. and keeps the ship afloat but it does not hurt when you have two defensemen next to you that produce and can line up with other top forwards in the league. Now the Lighting and Victor Hedman, I mean cmon, the guy had Kucherov, Stamkos, Palat, Johnson, Point, Gourde, Killron, Miller up front to give the puck to can’t be too hard to get assists. And again yes Hedman is unbelievable without a doubt I am not saying he does not deserve it, but there are other guys that could have possibly been nominated. On top of playing with Ryan McDonagh later in the year and Mikhail Sergachev also, Anton Stralman is no slump and as much as you want to think it but Dan Girardi is a solid defenseman in that system Tampa plays. Do we even need to discuss PK Subban here, the Predators are absolute powerhouses of the league and were all year. On top of having one the best top nine in the NHL. Subban then played alongside the best d-core in the NHL. With Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi(top-10 defenseman), Ryan Ellis, Alexi Emelin, Yannick Weber, literally a backend that is LOADED. Subban played great, and I love him but don’t think he is worthy of this nomination though.

Why John Carlson or John Klingberg? OK, well you look at Washington’s back end last year with Nate Schmidt and Karl Alzner all season plus Kevin Shattenkirk for 19 games, the Capitals then had Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, John Carlson and Dimitry Orlov a very reliable back end. Take away Karl Alzner a guy who ate major minutes for them and played a HUGE role on that back end in most if not all big situations. Then Nate Schmidt who had 17 points in 60 games last year but his time in Washington was usually a consist 15-20 points. Then add in Shattenkirk for 19 games who took Carlson’s job on the power play when he came to D.C. so Carlson’s production was obviously bound to drop. Well, now you start the year, with Taylor Chorney, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos, Micahel Kempny with Carlson, then add a 31-year-old Niskanen, and 37-year-old Orpik, on top of a very inexperienced Orlov who coming into the year had only two full years in the league under his belt and coming off a career year.

NHL Norris Trophy Finalist
NHL Norris Trophy Finalist discussion

Carlson was basically asked to run the power play, ok increased power play production by 16 points, average 2.5 more minutes from last season without taking on more shifts. Played the most minutes among the Capitals defense by two minutes, a close second was Niskanen. And even though Carlson was not in the top 10 for time on ice per game he still produced the most points for a defenseman outscoring all defenseman besides Klingberg or Hedman by either 4-5 points. Not to mention he was not on the Lightning an Atlantic powerhouse or the Predators an NHL powerhouse. I am not discrediting any of these finalists but the numbers are clear, yes Carlson was on the Capitals and they won the Metropolitan but by no means were they a powerhouse of the NHL. They went through a lot of roster changes and asked some guys to step up, i.e. Carlson and look what he did. Went from 37 points in 72 games to 68 in 82 games. Carlson led all defenseman in points, ranked 2nd for power play points(32), 4th among assists and tied 8th for goals(15).

NHL Norris Trophy Finalist
NHL Norris Trophy Talk

Case for John Klingberg now, this one is very obvious. This guy was expected to play a major role after Dallas had a terrible season in 2016-17 and added Alex Radulov to supplement Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Also, Ben Bishop to give them a reliable starter. Dallas expected Klingberg to turn it around especially since he had 49 points in 2016-17 after producing 58 in 2015-16, therefore a lot of pressure was on Klingberg and the Stars had sights on the playoffs and more. Although they missed the playoffs by a few points due to Ben Bishop and other reasons, the Stars still had a better season this year than 2016-17. As well did Klingberg, who produced 67 points an 18 point increase from last season. Plus, who did this guy even have alongside him? Marc Methot who missed the whole season basically. Esa Lindell a young defenseman who produced well actually, Dan Hamhuis, who yes is a solid defenseman. Perhaps Stephen Johns or Greg Pateryn. Ok, so Klingberg had one or two defensemen who could supplement him and play alongside him to his kind of level and or capability. Klingberg ranked top four among his team in points and only trailed Radulov by 5 points. Klingberg not only ranked among the top for this team but also was 2nd among all defenseman in points, first in assists, tied 40th for goals, 14th for power-play points with 23 and 22nd for time on ice per game.

It seems like this happens too often it seems like Doughty and Hedman are literally just shoe-ins at this point. Switch it up, recongize some other players, the thor looking guy will sell tickets and get fans but give me a break. Yeah Doughty and his toothless smile and snarky attitude will get attention but the dedicated and actual hockey fans want to see something get called right here. Already ruining the playoffs with all these suspensions.

 

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NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Headlines: Is EVERYTHING a suspension?

People all of sudden it becomes playoff hockey and everyone and their grandmothers are calling for a suspension on every hit or play. For example, the Drew Doughty scenario, ok yeah he clipped Carrier a little high and it was a blow to the head, but cmon, Doughty did not go into that play with the intention, let me crush Carriers head. He was trying to separate the man from the puck and it looked worse then it was.

Ok, now a bad one was the Nazem Kadri suspension. Yes definitely worthy of a suspension, no need for that hit. The player was defenseless and Wingels was already falling down Kardi was frustrated and did something stupid. He reaps the consequences now with a three-game suspension. The Corey Perry incident, with his hit on Karlsson, yeah definitely a little dirty but the argument is that Karlsson was battling for the puck. Although it looked like Perry was clearly looking for head contact and to run Karlsson that could have been suspension worthy.

The funniest ones, in my opinion, are the PK Subban one where he separated Nathan MacKinnon from the puck by a sort of punching motion to his chest to turn him the other way. If you’ve ever played hockey and the puck is in the skater’s feet along the boards, stick between the feet and you do what you can to separate the man from the puck. Subban was playing good defense and there is no need for even a discussion of suspension. Another funny one was Brad Marchand, yeah he swung his stick at Jeff Gardiner but cmon if that is all Marchand is doing out there, please let it go. He can do and has done much worse, relax people. Another borderline was Andy MacDonald hit on Hornqvist, from behind yes, but it was such a quick play and I am going to give MacDonald benefit of the doubt by saying he did not push him hard from behind it was a light tap saying I’m behind ya, and Hornqvist did not expect it, was far from the boards, to begin with, and sold it a little bit. We know Hornqvist for doing those things also.

Another HILARIOUS one is Forseberg hit on Duncan Siemens in game one, absolutely destroyed Siemens and people are saying Forsberg was head hunting. Give me a break it is playoff hockey he is setting the tone and playing physical. The Eric Staal and Josh Morrisey one is pretty bad but Morrisey was trying to just latch onto a man in front and happen to come up high with his stick he got suspended so relax people. He did not mean to do that on purpose at least not to the head.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018

But the latest one was Nikita Kucherov hit on Sami Vatanen in game four. Kucherov absolutely destroyed Vatanen and the only reason people are throwing their arms in the air is that there was no call on the play. The hit was clean, a little blindsided but hey that’s hockey, keep your head on a swivel at all times. Kucherov’s elbow may have come up high at the end but that’s the motion of the hit, he came in with the shoulder and naturally you end up finishing the check a little high, we’ve seen it time and time again. If Kucherov gets suspended for this, the NHL may be on the path to making this sport soft. Snowflakes and their typical rants after a big hit. It was clean, a hockey play and a player playing with emoton and intensity. He’s a compeitior and wants to win therefore he is going to set the tone and do whatever it takes to gain an advantage. The fact we see one of the best players in the league laying hits like that is awesome. Terrible to see Vatanen out rest of the game, but I am sure he will be fine, for the rest of the series. If not, sorry to him, but stuff like that happens and we cannot throw our arms in the air after every big hit.

Here is a video of Kucherov’s hit, you be the judge. 

Now the Doughty hit on Carrier, similar but Kucherov’s was definitely cleaner. 

Following Doughty, Karlsson, Tavares, where will they land?

These three names are three very important names in the NHL, and three players everyone knows pretty well. The future though for these three players seems bleak to some, but to others, it is clear as day. Well, that’s what they think.

Drew Doughty’s contract ends at the end of 2018-19, and right now he is getting paid $7 mil a year. That contract has to only be going up, as a former Norris winner, two-time Stanley Cup winner, and a staple to the Kings defense. Doughty will be asking for anywhere around $10 plus mil. He will be basing his contract off of Erik Karlsson’s, as he has come out and openly said. Can L.A. afford Doughty though? Right now they have 34.1 million locked up between Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Tyler Toffilo, Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson, $8 mil between Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin, and $5.8 mil a year for Jonathan Quick. Now, that is $47.9 mil a year cap the Kings have locked up on just eight players. Add in the 12.5 mil a year Doughty will be asking for the Kings will then have 60.4 mil locked up on nine players. Of their $71.3 cap hit, they will have just $10.9 mil to use on 14 other players. I’m not saying LA, cannot afford Doughty and he won’t end up back in a Kings uniform, but do not be surprised if Doughty does not resign. He has openly said he is ok with leaving L.A. and it seems at this point in his career, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, Norris winner, getting paid is more of a priority for Doughty.

Erik Karlsson’s contract ends the same year as Doughty, 2018-19, and right now Karlsson gets $6.5 mil a year. After his storied career, and producing the most points for defenseman over the last eight years, a two time Norris winner, and after his performance in the playoffs last season. Karlsson will 100 percent be receiving, $12 plus mil a year. And, I’m not sure Ottawa can afford that right now. Ottawa has $35.6 mil locked up between 8 forwards, and Mark Stone needs to be resigned, Derek Brassard, and Matt Duchene within the next two to three years. Along with $9 mil locked up between Dion Phaneuf and Cody Ceci, and $7.1 mil in goaltenders, the Senators have 51.7 mil locked up in 12 players and of their 73.1 mil cap hit a year, the Senators already use half of that on 12 players(not including Karlsson right now). Fitting in Karlsson luxury signing may leave the Senators to part ways with Brassard, Dzingel and another forward, or they attempt to trade him soon and try to receive plenty of picks, prospects and a serviceable defenseman now to help them build for the future. Because let’s be honest this team is not winning anything. And Karlsson has yet to capture a ring, and at this point in his career, a family on the way, getting paid and also wanting to win is on his priority list. Staying with Ottawa may mean, a slight pay cut for Karlsson and I’m not too sure how willing he may be to do that.

John Tavares is not the most interesting to follow because he has been offered contracts and has declined some offers by the Islanders, plus his contacts end at the end of this season. But with the recent news of the Islanders acquiring a new arena in Belmont, NY. Moving back to Long Island and Tavares getting the home he has been longing for, entices Tavares to come back. Right now, with how he has been playing and the love Islander fans have for him Tavares is almost a shoe-in to stay with them. Tavares is basically the lord and savior of this franchise and if he left, the team would be heartbroken. But, the player and competitor Tavares is I’m sure he has to be thinking about getting paid as well as what team gives him the best chance to win a Stanley Cup. Tavares will probably see a similar contract to Connor McDavid/Anze Kopitar, right now he is getting paid $5.5 mil but his contract ends at the end of this season. And the worst part about that is Jordan Eberle’s contract ends in the season 2019-20 same with Anders Lee, but also the following player’s contracts ending in 2017-18 for the Islanders are Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Shane Prince, Alan Quine, Calvin De Haan, Tomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech. As you can tell the Islanders are going to have some difficult questions to answer. We can assume Tavares gets a 12.5 mil a year contract for eight-plus years, the Islanders are going to have to part ways with a couple forwards, and some defenseman to resign Tavares. Obviously, the Islanders first priority is to re-sign Tavares and of the other two(Karlsson, Doughty), I would honestly say I would be most confident Tavares lands back with the team he has spent his whole career with and finishes his career where he started it.

NHL: Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar & L.A. Kings early success

Los Angeles Kings 2017-18 early success

If you had said two weeks before the season, “hey I could see this Kings team being good” we all may have laughed at you and discredited your poor hockey knowledge. Well flip the script and laugh at us, well me at least. Coming into the year the Kings were a team I had seen being on the bubble for a playoff spot, with Jonathan Quick back I assumed they would string together more success than last year. Well, as we just wrapped up the first month of play the Kings are one point behind Tampa Bay for the NHL lead and post a 10-2-1 record.

Well, I was wrong. Miserably wrong. After that win over Toronto, the Kings continue to prove why they will be a team in the mix for a playoff run come April. The Kings not only beat Toronto but they toppled them 6-3 last night. Aside from this though, what has been the Kings biggest factor in their early success? Three reasons, Dustin Brown/Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty/depth on defense and Jonathan Quick. Join me as we break this down now…

Dustin Brown/Anze Kopitar

Ok, let’s come clean and say it, these two sucked last year and it showed towards the Kings record(39-35-8), but after Kopitar got the butterflies out of his stomach after being awarded the captain and Dustin Brown stopped mopping about being stripped of the “C”, the two have combined for 28 points, Kopitar 15 points, Brown 13 points. There are five teams that have two players for more combined points than these two. Kopitar has only recorded no points in four games and Brown has not recorded a point in just five games of the thirteen games this year. The two have been on the score sheet in almost every NHL LA Kingsgame and have been the forefront of these teams success. Can they keep it up? I think we all agree Kopitar can, I mean besides last year he has consistently tallied around 65-70 points and right now he is on pace to well exceed that. Now, on the other hand, many are saying Brown will fall off, but honestly, I say otherwise. With this teams success Brown has stepped up and when a team is winning guys perform better. Now, Brown has by no means had a hall of fame career but he is a two-time Stanley Cup winner and for six seasons straight he tallied between 50-60 points. Yes, he has had some bad years in recent seasons but you never know when a players career can be resurged but at 33-years-old it is not likely. Anyways, I would not be surprised to see Brown tally 50 points this year, I mean he only needs 35 more through 69 games.

Drew Doughty/depth defense

Drew Doughty just like the two above has been off to a great start, he has 9 points through 13 games and has been the leader on the backend this season. But besides Doughty, players like Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, and Derek Forbort have played their roles quite well. Last season we saw both Muzzin and Martinez on the wrong side of things, but like I said before when a team wins it raises the game of everyone on the ice, and these guys have done their parts nicely after having less than successful seasons last year.  All three, Doughty, Martinez and Muzzin have proven to be top-four defenseman in the NHL and well all these guys are clicking on the back end, it makes it hard for teams to score goals.

Jonathan Quick 10 Thoughts on the 2017-2018 NHL season

The story of the Kings right here, this guy has easily been the MVP and has landed in some early Vezina talk. Last year Quick missed more than half the season and the Kings relied on Petr Budaj to step up and fill a void of an elite goaltender, now by no means did he do poorly but he just wasn’t Jonathan Quick and the Kings could not get the confidence nor, did they have the goal-scoring to be successful last year. But no worries people, Jonathan Quick is back and better than ever. I mean you take a look at this guys numbers(besides last year) from 2013 to 2016, he has consistently won, 35 or more games, posting a goals against(GAA) of 2.07, 2.24, 2.22 over those three years and a save percentage of .915, .918, .918. The fact the Kings have a guy like this in net who has posted numbers of an elite level goaltending is just more of a reason as to why they will be here come April. Anyways this season Quick is off to a “Quick start” (get it?, good one, I know) on the year through 11 starts he has 8 wins, 22 goals against, 1.99 GAA and a .939 save percentage with two shutouts. The man is carrying this team to the playoffs, 100 percent.

 

 

Fantasy Hockey Players of the Month (F/D)

Fantasy Hockey is nearly a month underway, which means players have had now eleven to thirteen games to pad their stats and get off to some hot streaks. For some, it was a successful October and for others, it was not so successful. Through October here three of the Top Fantasy Hockey Forwards, Defenseman of the month.

Forwards:

Steven Stamkos/Nikita Kucherov: I’m just going to combine these two into one because it would be no fun to have two Lightning players in the top three. If you happen to have either Stamkos or Kucherov there is a good chance your team is off to a fine start Stamkos is in the top three for points among fantasy players and leads all centers with 17 assists, 9 power play points and has 39 shots on goal. Kucherov leads the NHL with 12 goals, leads all RW with 8 power play points and fourth in shots on goal among right-wingers. These two are the mold of your team without them you struggle and they are players you never consider moving unless of course you have fully given up on your fantasy team and are looking towards next year already.

Jaden Schwartz: Not a name I would have expected to be up here come this time but Schwartz is off to an incredible start and is ranked fourth among all forwards/defenseman for points in fantasy hockey. Schwartz has 7 goals, 8 assists 2 power play points and 29 shots on goal. St. Louis is off to a hot start to start the season and it has shown in Schwartz’s play, and it does not seem he will cool down anytime soon, especially being paired with the top line of Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin erupted for seven goals in his first two games and has in a sense cooled off a bit but still has tallied 8 points over his last ten games. Ovechkin is in the early running for yet another Maurice Richard trophy. On the year Ovi already has 10 goals, 5 assists, 4 power play points, 61 shots on goal. That line of Kuznetsov-Vrana-Ovechkin has been paying off quite well for the Capitals so far. With both of their success, Ovechkin has rallied around the two and got himself off to a 15 point total over twelve games. This line will continue to produce all year and Ovechkin will continue to be that guy for Washington night in and night out.

Honorable mentions: Evander Kane (6G,6A,3PPP, 60 SOG), Auston Matthews(8G, 7A, 3PPP, 35 SOG), Dustin Brown(5G, 6A, 1PPP, 39 SOG, 33 HIT)

Defenseman:

Drew Doughty: Due to the King’s success, Doughty has been right up there for top point go-ers among defenseman. On the year Doughty has 3 goals, 5 assists, +13, 2 power play points, 2 game-winning goals and 39 shots on goal. He has dipped into every category imaginable and has been the backbone of your team’s defense coming into the year Doughty was ranked 51, he is now ranked 26. While the Kings success continues so will Doughty’s, making him the #1 defenseman for the month of October.

Alex Pietrangelo: Pietrangelo has been one of the most consistent defensemen this year and while the Blues have been off to a hot start so has Pietrangelo. On the year already Pietrangelo has 4 goals, 8 assists, 4 power play points, 2 game-winning goals and 41 shots on goal. The Blues have no one else on that back end that can produce top defenseman numbers, besides Colton Parayko. But with this start, Pietrangelo has got himself into the Norris conversation quite early. This is a player that will produce all season and someone you want on your team for the long haul.

Mikhail Sergachev: Definitely one of the biggest surprises of the season so far, Sergachev was still unsure if he was going to be in the line up come game one but since joining the Lightning, Sergachev has made his presence known quite well in Tampa Bay and around the NHL. Through eleven games Sergachev has 4 goals, 6 assists, 4 power play points, 2 game-winning goals and 24 shots on goal. With the power play time and is a top-three defenseman on this Tampa Bay team that scores goals game in and game out, Sergachev is a must have and is still not 100% owned in some leagues. This guy needs to be owned in 100 percent of leagues soon and with another great week, he will be in no time.

Honorable Mentions: Shayne Gostisbehere(1G, 12A, 8 PPP, 1 GWG, 28 SOG), John Klingberg(3G, 8A, 6 PPP, 31 SOG) Jake Muzzin (2G, 7A, 3 PPP, 31 SOG)