Tag: Nikita Kucherov

Please Suspend That Waste Of Space Radko Gudas For Yet Another Slash Incident

This guy Radko Gudas is really something else. Are we sure this guy thinks before he acts? Granted I would not say any of this to his face because I am pretty sure he is half gorilla and half human but Jesus guy what are you doing. Has Gudas not learned his lesson from his previous suspensions?

Gudas Recent Suspensions 

The slash on Mathieu Perreault last season, more of chopping down a large tree swing. Gudas almost decapitated Perreault last season with his slash. That resulted in a suspension.

His clear flying elbow to the face of Mika Zibanejad a few seasons ago when Zibanejad was with Ottawa. Gudas came off the face off and clearly went all for the head, making direct elbow to face contact. No penalty was called until the board reviewed it after the game and suspended him.

In 2016 PREASEASON when he blatantly made head contact with Bruins rookie forward Austin Czarnik as he was making a pass, Gudas came in and blindsided the forward with a clear head contact hit. And then continued to make gestures at the referee as if he did not know why he was being called for a penalty.

Gudas Slash on Kucherov Last Straw?

Now his most recent hearing and probable suspension comes again on a slash. Gudas has a long history with border line penalties, stepping over the line, hitting late and a history of suspensions as we can tell. This is nothing new. Gudas continues to be a complete mutant out there looking for anyway to agitate the other team. But there is a fine line between getting under a players skin and doing things that are just completely uncalled for and have no place in the game of hockey. Gudas reputation in the NHL is literally known as a cheap player by 60% of fans and the other 40% of fans probably find him to be a tough defenseman who likes to stir the pot and step over the line often. Either way both reputations are nothing to hang your head high about. This slash on Kucherov just comes with complete lack of care for other players or the use of his stick. Gudas will be held responsible for his actions and will be suspended.

The way I look at it since this is second slash incident within two-years he may face up to 10-game or more. Both slashes the one Perreault and the one Kucherov are very similar therefore it goes to show it seems like he knows what he is doing he just does not care and is trying to see what he can get away it.

Please suspend this guy so hopefully he realizes he does not belong in today’s NHL. I am all for a physical, hard, strong, on the line game but Gudas always goes over that line, throws cheap shots and very intentional with his hits and slashes. Get rid of the guy.

 

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NHL Hart Memorial Trophy Nominees

This is usually an award that goes to someone who makes the biggest impact to their team but is also one of the top point scorers in the league. Last years nominees were Taylor Hall Hart TrophyClaude Giroux, Taylor Hall and Nathan MacKinnon. Giroux bounced back big time in 2017-18 to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a playoff match up. Giroux tallied 102 points (34G, 68A) in 82 games after only scoring 58 points in 82 games during the 2016-17 campaign. Nathan MacKinnon played a major role in why the Avalanche went from being the worst team in the NHL in 2016-17 to being a playoff team last season. The 23-year-old tenured forward tallied 97 points in 74 games last season, if it were not for missing eight games this award may have been his last season. MacKinnon bounced back from 53 points in 82 games to 97 in 74 games last season. The winner Taylor Hall lead the underrated, unskilled, inexperienced New Jersey Devils team to a playoff spot for the first time in almost ten years. Hall shook up the NHL with his record setting point streak last season but more importantly led the Devils in every facet of the game. Hall had 93 points in 73 games, in just his second year on the team, Hall helped put the Devils back on the map.

This years nominees are different than last years, which is a good thing. It would be hard to not mention at least the top five considerations for this trophy. Based off what last years nominees did for their club last year and what the winner Taylor Hall did for the Devils last season, we can all realize as to why these players below are being nominated for one of the more prestigious NHL awards.

  1. Mikko Rantanen (18G, 43A, 59 points in 37 games) 
  2. Connor McDavid (19G, 33A, 52 points in 35 games)
  3. Nikta Kucherov (16G, 41A, 57 points in 37 games) 
  4. Johnny Gaudreau (16G, 32A, 48 points in 37 games)
  5. Mark Scheifele (22G, 27A, 49 points in 36 games)

Mikko Rantanen has been a freak of nature this year, he has been apart of almost every Colorado win, a major reason the Avalanche are back in a playoff spot right now and continues to do it night in and night out. Sure he has Nathan MacKinnon so his accreditation is a little less valuable. But Rantanen being at 1.56 points per game is incredible.

Johnny Gaudreau has single handily (with the help of Sean Monahan) turned this Flames team around if you ever watched a Flames game, Gaudreau is by far the most impactful player on the ice for Calgary, his ability to take control of the game, create separation and just constantly be involved in every play when he is out there shows his importance to Calgary.

Connor McDavid we all know his significance to Edmonton, he has no one around him besides Leon Draisaitl (they do not always play together) but McDavid has consistently been the one of the biggest reasons all year the Oilers are hanging and fighting for a playoff spot right now. Not to mention he plays upwards of 22 minutes a game, which is unheard of from a forward.

Mark Scheifele, the Jets have tools around him but Scheifele’s presence is definitely known when he is out there and not out there. He is always scoring big goals, plays the best two way game among most centers in the league and is not just a one-sided player. Aside from his leadership Scheifele is one of the most underrated forwards in the game today.

Top Fantasy Hockey Players of the week (Nov. 19- Nov. 25)

Patrik Laine: Well, how are ya Patrik Laine. Laine had 11 goals in the last week, which the Jets played 4 games, he scored in every game and was known for his 5 goal performance vs St. Louis recently. Laine now has 19 goals on the year and, the greatest thing about this weeks number one fantasy player of the week, Laine had zero assists this week. 

Nikita Kucherov: I believe this may have been Kucherov’s first time on the list, sure we have been doing it for three weeks now but Kucherov comes in at #2 due to his 2 goals and 7 assists on the week. In four games Kuch had a point in every game and three of them were multi-assist games. Kucherov now has 9 goals and 23 assists on the year. 

Johnny Gaudreau: This may be Jonny Hockey’s first time on the list too but Gaudreau had 2 goals and 5 assists in four games this week for Calgary, helping the Flames to three of four wins this week. Gaudreau had a point in every Flames win this week and the one game they lost he was kept off the score sheet. Gaudreau now has 8 goals and 19 assists on the year. 

Jack Eichel: Have to throw on the Sabres star and captain on this list as the Sabres run through the NHL on a 9-game streak and in first in the NHL. Eichel had 1 goal and 5 assists in the Sabres four games last week, the only game he scored in was the Penguins game November 19th which was an overtime winner. Eichel leads the team in points with 5 goals and 23 assists. 

Max Pacioretty: About time the former 30-goal scorer gets going. Patches had 5 goals this week in the Vegas four games. The Golden Knights three game streak Patches has four goals, one assist in that span. On the year Pacioretty now has 8 goals and 3 assists on the year. For Vegas to stay hot and make a run it will come from players like this guy producing more. 

Team Preview: Are the Tampa Bay Lightning ready to finally close on Cup final…

The Lightning had yet another successful season despite their 2016-17 missed playoff year and 5th place Atlantic division finish. The Lightning bounced back for a 1st place divisional finish and 3rd place NHL finish. Coming off a 54 win and 113 point season the Lightning, again failed to capitalize on the ultimate goal though. The Stanley Cup. This was the Lightning’s 3rd conference final loss in the last 8 years and fifth time failing to capitalize on a remarkable regular season in the last eight years.

Many times we have seen the Lightning miss their goal due to some injuries, like Steven Stamkos in the 2015-16 Cup run who many thought was the Lightning’s year and I am sure if you ask many fans around the league if Stamkos was healthy during that run it may have turned out differently for Tampa Bay.

Lightning offense able to lead Tampa to 1st place Atlantic finish again…

Heading into the 2018-19 year the Lighting are without Chris Kunitz and defenseman Andrej Sustr, nothing to really throw your arms in the air over as most of there core guys are still around and their young talent is still there. The Lightning have the Atlantic division at the palm of their hands, having to deal with Boston and Toronto, the Lightning should still be a sure favorite for the playoffs and another deep run.

Tampa Bay Lightning 2018-19 previewWith a line up of JT Miller, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov on line one, off the bat you are looking at a top 10 first line pairing. If Miller can be consistent and continue to feed off Stamkos and Kucherov he is looking at an easy 60 plus point year. In Millers 19 games with Tampa Bay he tallied 18 points and in the playoffs he scored 8 points in 17 games. On line two the Lightning have Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson, Point and Johnson combining for 106 points is already enough to supplement a solid second line, throw in Palat’s 35 points in 56 games, a player who can easily be a 50 point guy, the Lightning have a top 5 ranked second line in the league. Now a third line lacking some center depth with Anthony Cirelli but still with Alex Killron and Yanni Gourde the Lightning have three scoring lines right there.

They will be expecting some big numbers from Brayden Point and Yanni Gourde again as the two are coming off remarkable years, which with their production was a main reason the Lightning were so consistent throughout the year. This will be a big test for 3rd round 2015 draft pick Cirelli to step into the mix and secure his third line spot. In 18 games last year he tallied 11 points and in the playoffs he managed to make little bit of noise with 3 points.

Lightning need McDonagh to make a big step next season…

Tampa Bay Lighting Ryan McDonaghOn defenseman the Lightning have a Norris winning defenseman now in Victor Hedman, proving to be one of the most versatile and consistent defenseman in the NHL. Hedman is a sure fire 60 plus points year in and year out. The next step is getting Ryan McDonagh to the next level, and capable of bringing what the Lightning thought they were going to get when he first came over. McDonagh tallied 3 points in 14 games last year with Tampa and is coming off one of his worst years (29 points) since he emerged in the league. McDonagh when healthy is capable of 40 plus points but if he cannot stay healthy or find his groove on this Tampa Bay team it will cause some concern for Tampa fans and leave the Lightning missing that “one” piece they need to secure a Stanley Cup. Along with the meat and potatoes guys in the league Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman, two guys who you know what you are going to get from them and nothing more. Two solid defensive defenseman but as Girardi continues to age as well as Stralman this Tampa Bay defense has some concerns. Luckily with Vezina nominee goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy the Lightning have a sure number one goaltender, with Vasilevskiy coming off a 44 win season posting a 2.62 GAA and .920 save percentage with 8 shutouts the Lightning better hope he can continue to log 60 plus starts a year at a consistent rate. Last year was Vasilevskiy’s second full year as a starter but from 2016-17 to 2017-18 his minutes increased from 1,480 to 2,075 minutes a 595 minute difference his starting time increased from 47 games to 64 games a 17 game difference, point of the story is, he has seen a steady increase in numbers and when this happens we all know what occurs in the long run…

Predictions? 

I think the Lightning edge out the Bruins for the top spot and hold off the Leafs as well, they finish around the same point mark and win wise, perhaps a 112 point divisional win. The only concern with the Lightning here is if they face some injuries and go on a skid they have two of the best teams in the NHL right on their tail ready to take over the division. Still I see a division win from the Lightning, but perhaps that next step is not next season as they will fall short of the ultimate goal once again.

 

 

Lightning head to Washington in desperate need for Game 3 win: 3 Keys for Tampa Bay success

The Lightning have been pumped the first two games this series, 4-2 and 6-2, nothing to be proud of when it comes to the Eastern Conference finals and being the number one team in the East. The Lightning were written off as a favorite for this series before it even began. Now, after two games the Lightning have a chance to be swept and eliminated in their second Eastern Conference final in the last four years. The positive for Tampa is that they bounced back greatly from missing the playoffs last year to this now. Negative though they were favorites to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the year along with the Predators. Now fast forward to being down 2-0 the Capitals are now favorites to win it all.

What has been the Lightning’s biggest reason for their poor start though? A few things. Andrei Vasalevskiy has been subpar at best, getting yanked in the first game to allowing six goals in the second game. Kucherov has been almost non-existent besides the assist to Stamkos on the power play in game one and two. Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde have been nowhere to be found, their top performers and depth guys went from scoring to now nothing. Their defense has been pretty bad, to say the least. Allowing 32 shots on goal the first game to 37 the second game, and allowing a combined 10 goals in two games is not great. Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh have not been able to figure out a balance to the Capitals line up and the Capitals are exposing the Lightning’s defense when both Hedman and McDonagh are not on the ice.

BUT, there is still room for improvement on the Lighting’s side. Three keys to the Lightning’s success…

3 Keys to the Lightning’ success tonight…

(1) Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi need to step up and be more consistent. Coming from New York they know this Capitals team very well. They should be more than capable of stopping these guys and knowing what they are going to do. We will need to see these two really take charge and lead the way tonight. As Hedman is the guy, McDonagh and Girardi know the Capitals, use their experience and relay it to the rest of the team.

(2) Depth guys. Need to show up. Tyler Johnson, Alex Killron, JT Miller, Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point need to come up big this game. Not meaning only on the scoreboard but make it hard on the Capitals forwards and defenseman. A defense with Michael Kempny, Brooks Orpik, and Christian Djoos should not be this hard to score or even get some pressure in the offensive zone. It is not all about scoring, but it is about showing up and doing something each shift. Some of these guys have not even been noticeable on the ice meanwhile guys like Alex Chiasson are causing havoc out there even though he is not scoring every goal. Make it difficult, cause some havoc and put some pressure on the Capitals defenseman and forwards.

(3) Andrei Vasilevskiy needs to make a save or 30. Through 2 games he has allowed 9 goals, has been pulled once and has not looked like the Vezina goalie he was nominated to be. They are going to need Vasilevskiy to steal a game here tonight. In Washington, up 2-0 the crowd will be going nuts, and it will not be easy for the Lighting forwards to get much going, therefore Vasilevskiy needs to come up big tonight.

Aside from the first three keys, the Lightning needs to stop the Capitals from quick starts and start winning puck races. They will most certainly need Vasilevskiy to play one of the best games of his career but it is a team effort and they need to help the goaltender out back there. By doing so, they need to win some puck battles. The Lightning have lost every puck race it seems like and the Capitals have scored in the first minute two games now! Stop the Capitals from scoring first, pop the first one, eliminate the Capitals power play chances, win puck races and we may see a different outcome.

A look at what Vegas is saying…

Clearly, Washington is the favorite here, after winning the first two and heading home they are clearly the favorite. The opening line right now is Tampa Bay+100 and Washington -120, the over/under is 6 goals and the other sites are also saying for Tampa to be around +100 to +105, while Washington is -120 to -115 across the board. Clearly, the books are saying Washington here, but the odd thing is based on some bets thus far it has been 52 percent Tampa and 71 percent Washington, as of now. The line is standing at Washington -120 and Tampa +100. As the day goes on the line can change based on the number of bets coming in for each team. Therefore monitor it and I will check back on the line later. To find out the line, follow me on twitter @santageetee

Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning: Eastern Conference Finals

This is a matchup we have seen in the playoffs only two times, 2002 and 2011, the Lightning holds the series advantage 6-2. In 2002 they beat Washington in the first round 4-2, in 2011 they beat Washington 4-0 in the second round. The good thing about hockey is as much as those numbers play a factor, they essentially mean nothing. In 2002 no active player is still on either team to this day and in 2011, the only two players who remain on the Lightning roster still to this day are Stamkos and Hedman, I am going to have to guess they barely remember that series.

Who has the edge here though this year? Let’s break down each aspect of the game.

Offense…

Tampa Bay: The Lightning have a very deep top nine, one of the best in the league and every player on this roster is capable of scoring and chipping in some way. Their leading scorer is Nikita Kucherov with 12 points, next up is Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos with 10. Ondrej Palat(8), JT Miller(7), Alex Killron(6), Yanni Gourde(6), Tyler Johnson(5). They have a list of players who can score every night, as we saw with Boston. When the lines look a little like, Kucherov-Stamkos-Miller, Point-Palat-Johnson and still have Killron, Gourde on the next two it is going to be a handful for the Capitals.

Washington: As we all know, the Capitals run through two guys a lot, Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, their two top scorers and guys that have been their fuel all playoffs. Their leading scorer is Ovechkin with 15 points and Kuzy with 14, despite Backstrom being out one game, game six he also is a point per game player with 13 points in 11 games. Throw in an all-around forward in TJ Oshie(8) and a defensive forward in Lars Eller(7) the Capitals will rely heavily on these guys like Oshie and Eller to chip in a bit more and take some pressure off Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. Welcoming back Tom Wilson will give them that edge as well, with the Lightning, have Coburn, Hedman, Callahan as their guys who like to throw the weight around, Wilson will match any Lightning and bring that physical presence each day.

Winner: Lightning on pure depth and versatility. Any line can chip and every line has a ton of speed plus their fourth line has been causing havoc every shift they are out there. A good fourth line makes a championship team.

Defense…

Tampa Bay: With Norris trophy winner Victor Hedman leading the backend, with the help of Anton Stralman, Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev and Dan Girardi. The Lightning have a very deep, versatile defense as well. In McDonagh you can get both offense and defense(offensive defenseman), Girardi you know a solid 16+ minutes a game playing a fairly solid defensive game and Stralman playing a very solid 18+ minutes shut down style. With Sergachev and Hedman leading the rush on the backend, they have a ton of tools who can get do it all.

Washington: John Carlson through and through has been the most underrated defenseman this whole season, logging major minutes this postseason, producing 11 points, 3 goals and 8 assists in 12 games behind all defenseman by one point for the defenseman lead in the playoffs. With Matt Niskanen and Dimitry Orlov who have played a very solid shut down game with the Penguins and their top guys and the old veteran-like Brooks Orpik doing the same thing as Girardi in a sense. With two very inexperienced and young defenseman in Christian Djoos and Michale Kempny, the Capitals have seen these two young men, grow exceptionally well this playoff run and not make any MAJOR mistakes. A simple game that has been working well for them.

Winner: Lightning, too much depth and tools on that backend that supplement their offense so well.

Goaltending…

Tampa Bay: Andrei Vasalivskiy is up for a Vezina trophy and has been very solid and consistent this year for the Lightning. Someone who has really risen to the ranks of a starting role and has given the Lightning the confidence they need, making the saves he needs to when he needs to. Just in the Boston series, he allowed 12 goals in 5 games and 5 of those goals came in game one. He ranks third among active goalies in save percentage(.927) and third in goals against 2.20. This is a tough one because Vasilevskiy has had his team played very well in front of him, but has still been a part of their success in a big way.

Washington: Braden Holtby once a Vezina winner, but after one of his worst years as a starter, coming into the playoffs the Capitals went with Phillip Grubauer after that failed and the Capitals lost their first two games. They gave the torch back to Holtby who has been lights out for them with an 8-2 record, one coming in overtime in game two. Ranking second in goals against with a 2.04 and fourth in save percentage(.926). Holtby has allowed 23 goals compared to Vasilevskiy’s 22 this postseason and their numbers are very similar.

Winner: Capitals, experience-wise, I think we see Holtby elevate his game and play big on this stage that he has never been to before. They are very similar in numbers as far GAA, SV % and goals allowed but I think Holtby is going to be again the big difference maker for the Capitals and rise to the big stage when they need him most.

Series winner: I see the Lightning taking this series in 7, the home ice will play a major role and their offense is just too much to stop right now. With Point, Palat and Gourde all having great series thus far, along with a solid fourth line and Stamkos and Kucherov being relatively quiet that second round, the Lightning’s top guys will come to play and give them the edge here.

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.