Bleacher Report Article: 2012 Penguins Free Agency: What We’ve Lost/Gained & How It’ll Impact Next Season

Newest Bleacher Report Article on the Penguins. Check it out!

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The Bernier Hit Heard Around the World

The result of this 5 minute major for boarding (how fitting for my blog titled fiveforboarding), was 3 goals for the Kings. Can 1 hit determine which team gets etched on the Stanley Cup? It sure seems so.

Bonus tweet about the hit: “@DownGoesBrown Breaking: Steve Bernier has been suspended. Not by Brendan Shanahan – by his teammates, with frayed wires, over a tank of sharks.” Ouch.

NHL Rundown: Update for the Ultimate Hockey Fans

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What is going on in the hockey world you ask? Simply, a lot. With LA’s Game 1 OT win over the Devils in the Stanley Cup final, the NHL Combine taking place this weekend, the EA Sports Cover Vote coming to a close, and Lidstrom announcing his retirement, fans are in the thick of tons of hockey news.

Here are the most important headlines:

1. LA Kings win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in overtime. Kudos go to Kopitar who scored on a breakaway goal. See here: 

  • Sidenote: The Kings have never won a Stanley Cup. For those of you who think that is no big deal, consider the fact that the Kings became a NHL team in the 1967 NHL expansion with the California Seals.

2. Nicklas Lidstrom announces his retirement from the NHL (the year before the Red Wings play in the Winter Classic- do I see an alumni game all-star in the near future?)

  • Sidenote: Lidstrom has played 20 seasons with the Red Wings, and is still just as good as he was way back when. I mean, he won 7 Norris Trophies for being the league’s best defenseman. Check out his first goal ever here.

3. The NHL Scouting Combine finished up interviews with potential players and have now moved on to test athletic ability. The Combine takes place in Toronto from May 28th until June 2nd. TSN draftcenter is covering everything you could ever want to know about the Combine.

  • Sidenote: Teams are increasingly worried about drafting high profiled Russian players for fear that they will choose to play in the KHL rather than the NHL. What? You think someone named Yakupov or Grigorenko would want to play in Russia? I wonder why they are worried…
  • Various players in the top of the scouting class have injuries that are not quite healed. No one knows just how the injuries will effect the players’ draft position (Most notably Alex Galchenyuk’s knee injury). Yeah ouch. 
  • Sidenote: Malcolm Subban, PK Subban’s brother was at the Combine. He plays goalie. Who knew?
  • Sidenote: Top defenseman prospect Ryan Murray ended up vomiting after the Combine’s bike test to check oxygen consumption during intense exercise. To reporters he stated, ““I lost a little bit of my breakfast…too much bacon this morning.” Sounds like a comment an 18 year old would make. Oh yeah, he’s 18. Younger than my younger brother. Scary.

4. EA Sports Cover Vote for NHL 2013 has been narrowed down to only 2 candidates: Flyers’ Center Claude Giroux and Predators’ Goalie Pekka Rinne. Voting lasts until June 4th and the support for both candidates on Twitter is ridiculous. Giroux put out a message to fans on his own Twitter account, while celebrities like Carrie Underwood have come out in support of Rinne.

5. The NHL Draft and the NHL Awards are on the horizon. Not too much to say about this, other than I am getting excited. I am attending the draft this year. Let me know if you will be there and come ask me if I agreed with the choices at the Awards show (or tweet me @Fiveforboarding <shameless plug>)

6. Trades to watch out for: Rick Nash, Jordan Staal (Headed to Carolina with his brother?), Ryan Suter (Lidstrom’s replacement?), and Zach Parise (unrestricted free agent this summer).

  • Sidenote: And what about all this Tim Thomas craziness? Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed that “There’s a strong chance he’ll [Thomas] be taking the year off.” Why? Because he is Tim Thomas and he does what he wants. That was clear when he didn’t go with the rest of the Bruins team to the White House. Does he want to be traded? His no-trade clause does expire on July 1st… Time will tell.

NHL Awards Preview, Calder Memorial Trophy

As many of you know, last week I made the journey to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Overall, it was pretty impressive- all the greats, some awesome videos, and even a replica Montreal Canadiens locker room. One of the highlights of the trip was checking out the highly recognized NHL trophies. When I saw the Calder I made sure to take a photo, and I promised myself I would finally get to writing this article. But before I can discuss who should be considered for this highly-esteemed award, I need to discuss the award itself.

Right next to the trophy, was this displayed text: “Calder Memorial Trophy- An annual award to ‘the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.’ Winner selected in 1 poll by the Professional Hockey Writers’Association at the end of the regular schedule. From 1936-37 until his death in 1943, Frank Calder, NHL President, bought a trophy each year to be given permanently to the outstanding rookie. After Calder’s death, the NHL presented the Calder Memorial Trophy in his memory. To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25 games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons in any major professional league. Beginning in 1990-91, to be eligible for this award a player must not have attained his twenty-sixth birthday by September 15th of the season in which he is eligible”.

That might tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the Calder, but I think it is important to know the significance behind these awards (and how many stipulations there are- gees!). Many hockey greats and current superstars have won the Calder in the past. These players include Terry Sawchuk, Bobby Orr, Ken Dryden, Mario Lemieux, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Ray Bourque, Pavel Bure, Daniel Alfredsson, Teemu Selanne, Alex Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin.

But on to the candidates… There are 5 rookies that I believe are in the running to win the Calder. Each player has specific strengths that make them a great candidate for the trophy. The five players include (not in any order):

  • Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
  • Matt Read, Philadelphia Flyers
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
  • Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils
  • Cody Hodgson, Buffalo Sabres

Points: Advantage Nugent-Hopkins

When looking at point totals and scoring, Nugent-Hopkins has the advantage. Nugent-Hopkins is tied with Gabriel Landeskog for the rookie lead with 52 points, even though Nugent-Hopkins has played 20 less games.

Goals: Advantage Matt Read

Matt Read had the most goals for a rookie in the regular season. He tallied 24 goals this season. Even more impressive was Read’s clutch plays. He scored a whopping total of 6 game-winning goals. He is an integral part of the Flyers goal-scoring team and is constantly converting his shots. He has a 15.5% shot percentage which is above all the other rookies in the running for the Calder this year.

 

Defense: Advantage Gabriel Landeskog

Landeskog finished the regular season with a +20 +/-. This stat just proves how cognizant Landeskog is when he is out on the ice. He is an all around player and is involved in both ends of the play. Landeskog clearly has the advantage in this category.

Powerplay: Advantage Cody Hodgson

This season, Cody Hodgson finished with 7 powerplay goals. This is especially impressive because these goals have been spread out between Hodgson’s time with the Canucks and the Sabres. He is consistent on the powerplay no matter who he is playing with. He has great vision on the ice, and is comfortable leading in the PP.

Shorthanded: Advantage Adam Henrique

Henrique converted 4 short-handed goals this season. He is the leader in this category among all rookies and is tied with only 2 vets for the lead (Cal Clutterbuck and Mike Richards). Part of this advantage is due to Zach Parise’s innate ability to strip players of the puck, but Henrique is always very alert and ready with a solid shot.

Opinions? Anyone think Hagelin should be on this list? Who do you think will win?

Staged Fights, Should the NHLPA Allow It?

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Regardless of your stance on NHL fighting, this video is pretty shocking. I have a couple of quick points I would like to address regarding this multi-fight madness:

  1. There should be clear-cut line between fights to change the momentum of the game and staged fights to beat the living hell out of the other team (aka fights off the face-off). Isn’t player safety more important than a fight about starting lineups and angry coaches before the game has even started?
  2. If you are going to put a defenseman in the circle for the face-off, you are looking for trouble.
  3. Ryan Carter is quite the bleeder.
  4. Fights should not occur before anything in the game happens. Those coaches should be punished for that type of staged chaos. And Tortorella should be ashamed for yelling curses at DeBoer from the bench, real classy John.
  5. This is not the first time these two teams have gone at it within the first couple seconds of the hockey game. It has actually happened twice already in the past year (December 2011 and February 2012). Shouldn’t something be done to stop this trend?
  6. This kind of fighting is not ‘part of the game’. The NHL isn’t MMA fighting and there should not be mindless bashing-in of skulls without cause. Pierre Lebrun of ESPN said this about the fight: