Tag: NHL News

St. Louis Blues G Jordan Binnington The New Andrew Hammond (Aka Hamburglar)?

Jordan Binnington, the 25-year-old, 2011 3rd round pick has been quite the story this season. Binnington came onto the Blues this season when the Blues were in last place and looking to be a guaranteed top-5 draft pick for this years NHL draft.

Well, the one thing the Blues lacked was goaltending and it played a major role in their failures in the early part of the season. Along came Jordan Binnington. Much like the Ottawa Senators and Andrew Hammond aka “The Hamburglar” when he took the league by storm from mid-February to early April in 2015. Hammond was one of the hottest goalies in the league and completely changed the fate of the Senators season during his run. During his run when the Senators had Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner sidelined, Hammond posted a 20-1-2 record, 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. Hammond propelled the Senators into the playoffs placing them fourth in the division that year but they eventually lost to Montreal 4-2 in the first round.

Well, it seems Jordan Binnington is on that same type of run. Right now Binnington is 15-2-0 with a 1.61 goals against, .936 save percentage in 18 games started. He earned NHL star of the week accolades just two weeks ago and just earned Rookie of the Month for February.

But, I don’t think the Blues want Binnington to be the next “Hamburglar”. After Hammond had his famed season he went onto post a 7-11-4 record with a 2.65 GAA and .914 save percentage the following season. And since his 2014-15 storied season he has played in 26 games total.

Either way Binnington has helped shoot the Blues back into playoff contention, in the top three in the difficult Central division and now a legitimate playoff team that many will over look. Binnington continues his unbelievable season, he has lost 1 game in the last month and 12 starts. Following his first lost of the season on Jan. 21, Binnington went to win the next nine games he played in. Binnington seems to show an uncanny amount of confidence in net and with the media after and before games. The 25-year-old phenomenon continues to impress and hopefully for the Blues he is not just a one hit wonder.

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My Reaction Following John Tavares Return To Long Island

As we all know by now the Islanders beat the Leafs 6-1 and John Tavares return to the Coliseum was a very hostile environment. Islanders fans, nearly all of them did not take Tavares return lightly. The stadium was filled with Islander fans wearing Tavares jersey with his name crossed out or written over his name on the back, the emotion was high but the hatred was even higher. I attended the game in section 234, wearing a Tavares jersey without his name crossed out.

Wearing a Tavares jersey without his name crossed out was essentially equivalent to wearing, pink shoes, a pink hat, pink shirt and pants. You stuck out like a sore thumb and everyone was looking at you and laughing. I may have been better off and safer wearing a Rangers jersey to this game. I had numerous fans come up to me and say “why are you wearing that?” or “get a new jersey he is not on the team anymore” or people talking behind my back saying “you see this non Islander fan wearing a Tavares jersey, what a troll”.

My takeaway from this game though and after hearing a lot of Islander fans opinions. 90% of Islanders fans are clues about the game of hockey, I am convinced a majority of the fan base has never stepped foot on ice, played hockey, or played competitively before in there life. The Islanders fan base is the fan base that picked up hockey when they were about 30+ years old, skated a few times play in the men’s league C division and think they could have made it to the NHL or be a coach if “they got their chance”. I have never been surrounded by so many clueless fans before in my life the lack of hockey knowledge and sense by these fans was embarrassing. The Islanders fan base is the fan base that scream shoot any time the player holds onto the puck for more than 2 seconds in the offensive zone. Say hit anytime someone goes in a corner and cheer for every bump or nudge on the ice and say skate anytime a player looks to be skating at half speed. Section 234 really made me think twice about the Islanders fan base…

More importantly. I understand I only heard/saw a handful of Islanders fans but the more important part of this discussion. The Islanders hatred for John Tavares. Yes, he left, yes “he lied”, yes he did not get traded so you can get assets for him. We get it Islanders fan he said he was going to stay forever but did not. He left the organization but how can you put all the blame on him. I can guarantee if Lou Lamoriello was the GM last season and this was the case, Lou would have made Tavares tell him what he was going to do and figure out his intentions.

The blame has to be partially on Garth Snow he did not find out what Tavares was doing or demand him to give the Islanders an answer therefore he can trade him. Lou would have made Tavares give them an answer. Lou would have said you have until x date to give us an answer or we are moving on from you. The same thing is happening in Columbus right now but you know what the Blue Jackets GM is doing he is not sitting there with his hands tied and slucking about the situation. He is building around Panarin to give him a ton of players to work with, making the Blue Jackets a better team and adding top players therefore if Panarin does walk, they will be able to re-sign Duchene and Dzingel so the walking of Panarin will not be so painful.

I was just completely blown away by the fact that no one, or very few Islanders fan in attendance did not even clap for the tribute video. I was blown away by the fact that Islanders fan chanted “JT sucks” the whole game. The Islanders are so bitter that he “lied” to them. Jeez, I guess these people never got lied to before. They are making it like Tavares killed someone in their family and got away with it. Islanders fan need to move on, 90% of these fans would not be fans of the team if it was not for Tavares. Most of them would not know the game if it was not for Tavares. No one off of Long Island would know what the Islanders are if it was not for Tavares. Also what was even more disgusting was some fans throwing snakes at Tavares while he was warming up and throwing a jersey at him as he was exiting the ice towards the locker room.

Look at the LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown situation both star players, won super bowls with them and just picked up and left. Look at the Ilya Kovalchuk situation, signs a 13 year contract and leaves after like 3 years. The Islanders fan base took a major hit last night and I definitely do not have the same respect for them as I once did.

John Tavares Returns To Nassau Coliseum Thursday Night

The New York Islanders and Islanders have had this day circled on their calendar the moment Tavares left and the schedule was released. Returning to the Barclays Center would not have been as emotional of a return but the Coliseum where Islander fans fell in love with Tavares, where Tavares made his name as an Islander is going to make for a whirlwind of emotions.

Some Islanders fan will have mixed feelings about Tavares return but some will not. Their is going to be a thank you video on the big screen before the game but this is going to make for one hell of a game. I will be sure to capture any video or material I can when I am at the tailgate and at the game and report back the next day. Also, I will be supporting a Tavares jersey (Islanders of course) there to see what others have to say about it.

John Tavares played nine seasons with the Islanders, he was their first round first overall selection in the 2009 draft. Immediately when Tavares came to the Islanders he buried 24 goals for 54 points in 82 games. Catching the eye of every Islanders fan. Tavares went onto to score 24+ goals for the next 8-years of his career in New York. The moment Tavares put up 81 points, 31 goals and 50 assists in 82 games during his third year. The word was out on Tavares and all of Long Island fell in love with him (except some Rangers fan on the island). There are many fond moments of Tavares during his early years on the Island and it was during his early years the Islanders struggled yet Tavares was still a top talent in the league. Tavares was one of, if not the sole reason the Coliseum filled seats during their down years and it will be like that once more as he returns for a game vs the Islanders sporting a Leafs jersey.

But, why could it be that Islanders fans are so bitter about Tavares leaving? I’ve heard some arguments supporting his decision but mostly disgruntled fans saying his legacy as an Islander is tarnished. Without Tavares during those first six years of his career I don’t think anyone off of Long Island would have known what the Islanders were. Tavares spent nine seasons with the Islanders in that time the Islanders posted a 289-251-82 record, appearing in the playoffs three times (1 of them in 2012 was the lockout half year) winning one playoff series and missing the playoffs his first three years and 5 of the 9 seasons total.

Was it really unrealistic to think Tavares deserved better? He muscled through the years from 2009-2013 when the only time the Islanders made the playoffs was because half a season. He dealt with numerous coaching changes, dealt with the move to the Barclays center and being the generational talent he is. That is a lot to deal with and to still continuously show up year after year and be a top-10 NHL player, hats off to Tavares. Also, it is worthy to the note the only Islanders playoff series win in 23 years came in 2015-16 vs the Florida Panthers all due to a John Tavares overtime game-winning goal.

It just seems like the Islanders fans are being extremely bitter about the situation. Almost like when your girlfriend breaks up with after nine years because “you guys are just not fit for each other”, sure be bitter but you don’t need to have a nineteen page report from Tavares describing why he left the Islanders. I think it was pretty clear he wanted to win, he knows he is getting up here in age. Toronto is his home town. It made total sense to me but to some Islanders fans not so much. Plus how can you be bitter at someone who brought you so much joy and happiness, I mean listen to the crowd and the announcer in that video. One of the only good thing Islanders have going for them is that playoff win in 2016.

It’s just a little odd to me a guy that a six time All-Star, nine-time 24+ goal scorer with the Islanders, four time 70+ point player with the Islanders. A big reason some of you even like Islanders and follow the team to this day, a reason some of you even play or played hockey and a big reason why some of your kids play or played hockey. Tavares did so much for Long Island and to say his legacy is tarnished is beyond me. Let the guy be, enjoy the Thank You clip during the game Thursday, if you don’t like him, great but at least be an adult about it Go and cheer the Islanders on and be happy you still have a good team without him and let the walking of Tavares this summer go. I say this because TSN released a video showing Islanders fan talking bad about Tavares and his return to the Coliseum Thursday, only a few fans but if you agree with those people you probably kicked rocks and played outfield in little league.

Eastern Conference Winners & Losers At The NHL Trade Deadline

The Eastern Conference has been the better of two divisions over the last few years. And looking at the division now with the Tampa Bay Lightning already at the 100 points 62 games into the season, the Eastern Conference has the biggest fish in the sea right now. Which means all the other contending teams have to go out and improve to make themselves compete vs Tampa Bay.

Winners: 

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets: No argument here. The Blue Jackets only have 3 draft picks this draft but they acquire a top-30 NHL player(Matt Duchene), an up and coming forward (Ryan Dzingel) who will need no time to adjust to the NHL as he has proven to be a top-six guy. In addition they add Keith Kinkaid who has had a rough season in New Jersey this year but a lot of that is due to the players in front of him. Never hurts to add a back up goalie. Finally, Adam McQuaid, depth is big in the playoffs and so is physicality and size. The playoffs are a different game and it gets more physical and guys like McQuaid who can kill a penalty and play the number six/seven role on Columbus is a perfect fit. In all honesty, with the way the Penguins and Capitals have looked this season, the Blue Jackets now have a legitimate shot at the Conference finals. As long as the Islanders do not upset them and Sergei Bobrovsky comes to play.
  2. Boston Bruins: The Bruins are well aware that they are not the top-dog in the East anymore. They have to make their roster especially their front end just as good if not better than Tampa Bay and Toronto. They did exactly that by adding Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson. Johansson now slots in at line two with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk and Coyle is a third line center. Depth down the middle and on the wing is big. Johansson is not the biggest playoff performer but he is finally getting healthy and could hit his stride here for Boston.
  3. Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres back end is really their biggest concern they lack consistency and depth there is no denying that. Their offense can definitely be more consistent too but the Sabres are losing games 5-4 too often. With the addition of Brandon Montour it really helps bolster this blue line for a possible playoff push but also further down the road. Montour provide his worth at the NHL level last season and has 25 points this season already on pace to surpass his 32 points last season.

Losers: 

  1. Florida Panthers: They are out of a playoff spot perhaps but they needed to do something in my opinion, maybe they are waiting for the off-season but the Panthers have Mike Hoffman, Alexsander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Evgenii Dadanov on the front end they should be a better team. Adding some depth up front or a goalie would have been smart but the Panthers again stay still and do not improve and miss the playoffs.
  2. Washington Capitals: Coming off a Stanley Cup and all you add is Carl Hagelin is not going to cut it. Sure, Hagelin has playoff experience and adds some depth but the Capitals have been a disaster on the back end, they needed add some defensive depth and not doing so really hurts them. I don’t think we see this team play the same way they did last playoffs come this playoff run. For sure losers by adding just a bottom-six forward.
  3. Carolina Hurricanes: Currently in a playoff spot, have not made the playoffs in nine years, so much talk about re-location. Give the fans something to look forward too maybe a playoff series that is? Not just the hopes of a playoff spot. The Hurricanes have so much cap room too that they are just not using or waiting to spend on Aho. They did Nino Niederreiter but they need a little more fire power on the front end. A guy like Kevin Fiala could of helped, Tanner Pearson, Derick Brassard, Marcus Johansson. I don’t know for a team that is playing well and has a chance to sneak in and make the playoffs to do nothing is not great. They may have been bounced in the first round but at least making the playoffs gets the fans excited and puts the Hurricanes some what back on the map.

NHL Trade Deadline News: Weal to Montreal, Hayes to Winnipeg, McQuaid to Columbus, Brassard to Colorado

As the Trade deadline nears in on its final hours here is what we have seen in the last three hours.

Kevin Hayes was sent to Winnipeg for Brendan Lemieux, a 1st rounder and conditional pick (4th rounder if Jets win Stanley Cup)

Montreal acquired some depth down the middle. Jordan Weal the former Flyer who was sent to Arizona this season has now landed in Montreal. Montreal traded away Michael Chaput for Weal. Weal

Adam McQuaid was just sent to Columbus for a 4th and 7th rounder. McQuaid was a former Bruin until he made his way to New York. Now Columbus has been apart of three deals within the last 48 hours.

Brassard, the veteran center provides some depth down the middle and up front to a team that struggles with forward depth. The Colorado Avalanche acquire Brassard for a 2020 3rd round pick.

Henrik Lundqvist Gets Emotional When Reporters Ask About Mats Zuccarello

It has not been easy for Rangers fans let alone Rangers players to really accept this trade and move on from the fact that Mats Zuccarello may never and probably will never again be a New York Ranger.

Zuccarello spent nine years with the Rangers, an undrafted free agent who played his first game as a Blueshirt in 2010. Five years earlier the Rangers chose Henrik Lundqvist with their 7th round pick in 2005. Lundqvist has been with the Rangers ever since. Along the way he has seen many defenseman in front of him, been around a lot of different coaches and has played with a ton of players up until this point. A 14-year professional and someone most fans know to be a very competitive and serious guy. Lundqvist is the back bone of this Rangers franchise and has been for quite sometime now. But one other player that is essentially the 1A when it comes to favorite Rangers since 2005 is Mats Zuccarello.

Zuccarello played 509 games with the Rangers and 509 games alongside Henrik Lundqvist. The two host a charity game together and have been known to be best friends for the better of Zuccarello’s nine year career. When the trade speculation surfaced Lundqvist spoke on the issue about how difficult it would be to see his long-time teammate but more importantly friend leave him. As the days went on and the news simmered down, it seemed like things were looking like the two would stay together, at least they hoped.

It is obviously a lot easier to cope with the fact of Zuccarello leaving when it does not actually happen but it is difficult to put into words what it is like with Zuccarello really gone now. And clearly Lundqvist struggled as he choked up during a post game interview and could not finish the reporters question.

This is difficult for any fan to watch and especially Rangers fans. The only time, I could recall Lundqvist showing emotion like this is during a tough Stanley Cup final loss or Eastern Conference final loss but nothing to this extent.

Zuccarello and Lundqvist shared many great moments together from the seven straight playoff appearances, President Trophy in 2014-15, the Eastern Conference finals back to back years and a Stanley Cup loss in 2014. The two have shared the good, the bad and everything in between. But more importantly they were known for their bond off the ice and in the locker room that many fans would not understand nor see.

It is tough for Rangers to see their favorite player walk away after 9.5 years but it is even tougher for Lundqvist to see his best friend walk away after all the memories and times together. Whatever Lundqvist is feeling is something not many fans or players can probably relate too.

Will A “Fresh” Start In Ottawa Help Anthony Duclair Find Consistent Time In The NHL?

Anthony Duclair was never a projected to be a top-talent in the NHL but he was expected to be better than he has currently panned out to be. Duclair was drafted in 2013, 3rd round 19th pick (80th overall) by the New York Rangers.

Duclair played 18 games in 2014-15 with the Rangers collecting 7 points, he was quickly sent to Arizona part of the Keith Yandle trade. With Arizona he played 172 games tallying 74 points (his longest tenure), then was sent to Chicago for Richard Panik. He played 23 games collecting 8 points. He was released by Chicago and quickly picked up by Columbus, playing 53 games for 19 points.

Now as we know he was sent to Ottawa in the Ryan Dzingel trade. Duclair will look for a fresh start in Ottawa as he begins to play with his fifth team in five years. His third team in two years.

John Tortorella has been very clear and up-front about Duclair’s struggles in Columbus. For a player that is 5″11 and 190+ lbs and has a very similar structure to his game like the Wild’s forward Jordan Greenway. Duclair has really struggled to stay consistent in the NHL. Duclair has the speed and size, he works hard in the offensive zone and works well along the boards but it seems from what Coach Tortorella said about Duclair is that he does not play both sides of the puck well nor is situationally aware and lacks the hockey IQ.

As John Tortella said four days ago about Duclair:

“I don’t think he knows how to play, I don’t,” Tortorella said. “It seems to me he’s like a player who feels he can get the puck because he’s tremendously skilled. He can skate. He has all those things you guys know. I just think he thinks he can go do whatever the hell he wants to do on the ice. You can’t do it in the National Hockey League.

“We have spent a lot of time trying to teach him, trying to teach him situational play, away from the puck. All the stuff we do with players. Sometimes, it looks like he is understanding. So to answer your question, I don’t know. I don’t know if he can’t comprehend it or if he’s just stubborn. But he is running out of time.”

Per The Athletic Tom Reed.

Will Ottawa be a good place for Duclair? Who knows, he grew up in Pointe-Claire Quebec so perhaps heading back “home” to Canada to play for a Canadian franchise could be good for Duclair. It worked for Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin but Duclair will not have much on his roster to help him really propel his game. Although with Ottawa basically a guaranteed first overall pick team right now and having not many to no super stars it may be good for Duclair. Duclair is only 23-years-old and has plenty of time to get an identity to his game and fix his weak areas but like Tortella said his time is definitely running slim.