Archive for May, 2015

Blackhawks-Ducks Preview (The Associated Press)

By at 28 May, 2015, 5:06 pm

Someday the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks will relish the stories they’ll be able to tell about playing in a postseason series as good as these Western Conference finals. Two weeks of extraordinarily high-level hockey conclude Saturday nigh…


What We Learned: Blackhawks playing dangerous game on defense (Puck Daddy)

By at 25 May, 2015, 8:54 am

(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) Prior to Sunday night’s game, very few players were in the same stratosphere in terms of minutes played as the Chicago defense. In terms of minutes per game, Chicago’s top-four ranked second, eighth, 11th, and 14th among playoff players in terms of minutes per game at 5-on-5, which is crazy. . And granted, that comes with the caveat that Chicago is obviously playing a ton of overtime this postseason — 151:38 to be exact, a little more than two-and-a-half extra games — but nonetheless, there’s a lot of work being given to what are, essentially, just four guys. Right now, Chicago has four defensemen averaging at least 25:52 per night, while the other three they’ve used (Kyle Cumiskey, David Rundblad, and Kimmo Timonen) are basically getting the minutes you’d give to a guy you don’t trust to do little more than fight in a game against Arizona in December: 13:37 or less. This is, of course, often commented upon this postseason. Joel Quenneville doesn’t trust his bottom-two defensemen, whomever they may be, to play more than the most sheltered, minimal minutes available. And when you watch Timonen play, you start to get why. But there are two questions that should nag at anyone watching this happen, including Quenneville: 1) How wise is it to deploy defensemen like that? 2) Could the other guys actually handle a little more than, say, 10 minutes a night in most cases? In theory, this is really putting a lot of miles on Duncan Keith (32:23 per night), Seabrook (26:52), Niklas Hjalmarsson (26:37), and Johnny Oduya (25:52). Only two defensemen from 1994 to present have played more minutes in fewer games than Keith’s 453 — Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger both played more than 35 minutes a night in 13 games for St. Louis in 1999 — in the postseason. If we expand that out to cover Oduya’s 362, we find that this has only happened 14 times in that span, meaning just 10 times in the last 21 playoffs has any defenseman played many minutes in so few games. We are, effectively, in uncharted territory. No team in modern hockey has ever used its defensemen like this. Based on that data from Hockey Reference, we know that just 235 defensemen in the past two decades have ever broken 360 minutes of play in the postseason. That’s not a very deep pool from which to draw, and as you might expect, the vast majority of those guys played on different teams. Of course, there may have been many teams in that time that were so top-heavy on defense that this kind of usage was a necessity for the coach, but it destabilized the entire team to the point that they got bounced in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Those teams are of little interest here, because it does not examine the wear and tear that logging so many minutes will eventually rack upon those teams’ top-four defenders. So when examining the teams of defenders that logged at least 360 minutes in the playoffs, the number is whittled down considerably. Only 88 players were on teams for which three other defenders played at least 20 minutes a night. That means it’s only happened 22 times since 1994. Here are those teams, with the average minutes played by the top-four, drop-off in minutes between the Nos. 4 and 5 defensemen on those teams, and where they finished the postseason.


NHL GM of the Year Finalists: Bob Murray vs. Glen Sather vs. Steve Yzerman (Puck Daddy)

By at 22 May, 2015, 7:58 pm

Winning the NHL’s General Manager of the Year Award doesn’t always bode well for your future. Two of the five winner’s in the short history of the award were fired by their respective teams not long after being chosen. Mike Gillis was canned three years after he won, while Ray Shero was shown the door less than twelve months after he was was given the honor. On Friday night, the NHL announced its three finalists for the 2015 award: Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks; Glen Sather of the New York Rangers; and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  From : Why Bob Murray deserves to win Murray crafted a Ducks team that posted the top record in the Western Conference for the second consecutive season, captured its third straight Pacific Division title with the second-best record in franchise history (51-24-7, 109 points) and has reached the Conference Finals for the first time since its Stanley Cup win in 2007. Murray acquired center Ryan Kesler in a draft-day trade last June and defenseman Simon Despres at the trade deadline in March, adding to a roster whose core was built through the draft (forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, defensemen Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen, goaltender Frederik Andersen). Murray is a finalist for the third consecutive season; he finished second in voting in 2012-13 and captured the award in 2013-14. Why Glen Sather deserves to win   Sather assembled a roster that went 53-22-7 (113 points) during the regular season to set franchise records for wins and points in capturing the third Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history. The Rangers also led the NHL and set club records for road wins (28) and points (58). With a successful mix of 25-and-under standouts (Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan), veteran draft picks (Carl Hagelin, Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal), trade acquisitions (Derick Brassard, Kevin Klein, Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Keith Yandle) and free agents (Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi), the Rangers have advanced to the Conference Finals for the third time in the past four seasons. Sather is a finalist for the first time since the award was introduced in 2009-10. Why Steve Yzerman deserves to win After leading Tampa Bay to the Conference Finals in 2010-11, his first season in charge, Yzerman oversaw the rebuild to a roster that has returned to the final four with just two holdovers from the 2011 squad, cornerstone center Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman. Bolstered by key acquisitions through the draft (Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat), via free agency (Brian Boyle, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson, Anton Stralman) and trades (Ben Bishop, Ryan Callahan, Jason Garrison), the Lightning set franchise records with 50 wins and 108 points during the regular season. They also led the League with 262 goals and 32 home wins. Yzerman is a finalist for the award for the second time, finishing second in balloting in 2010-11. Voting was conducted by all 30 NHL general managers and a panel of league executives, print and broadcast media at the end of Round 2. Maybe you could make a case for Nashville Predators GM David Poile to be a finalist, but the biggest oversight has to be Garth Snow of the New York Islanders. He upgraded in goal, on defense and up front, saw his team improved by 22 points and come within a Game 7 win of advancing to the second round. Not sure what else he needed to do to be included.  Who Should Win : Garth Snow. Who Will Win : Steve Yzerman. Overhauled his roster and raided the Stanley Cup finalist Rangers, while keeping his core intact, which includes extending two-thirds of the “Triplets” line and Alex Killorn. Also bolstered defense at the trade deadline with the acquisition of Braydon Coburn. – – – – – – – Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:


NHL-National Hockey League roundup (Reuters)

By at 19 May, 2015, 6:29 pm

The Edmonton Oilers filled their head coaching vacancy on Tuesday, naming Todd McLellan to the position. The 47-year-old McLellan guided the San Jose Sharks to six playoff appearances and two Western Conference finals in seven years. – – Detroit Red…


Man who scammed NHL pleads guilty to forgery charges in Ohio (The Associated Press)

By at 19 May, 2015, 4:29 pm

A man who once conned the National Hockey League into thinking he was a wealthy entrepreneur well-qualified to buy one of the league’s most storied franchises has been convicted of another scam. John Spano Jr. pleaded guilty Monday to 16 counts of for…


US beats Czechs 3-0 to win bronze at ice hockey worlds (The Associated Press)

By at 17 May, 2015, 11:32 am

The United States blanked the host Czech Republic 3-0 at the ice hockey world championship Sunday to claim a second bronze medal in three years. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck of the St. Johns IceCaps made 39 saves for the shutout. ”He’s our best play…


Man who scammed NHL in 1990s faces another Ohio fraud case (The Associated Press)

By at 17 May, 2015, 9:32 am

The man who once tried buy an NHL franchise with loads of chutzpah and not much else could face a return to the judicial penalty box if convicted of what authorities say is yet another scam. John Spano Jr., whose audacious effort to buy the New York I…


Playoff scoring at 3-year low in NHL this season (The Associated Press)

By at 15 May, 2015, 8:47 am

There has been plenty of drama in the NHL playoffs this season. More than one in every four games were decided by a score of 2-1 and the 4.88 goals per game is the lowest in an NHL postseason since 2012 (4.84). ”When you get to the heightened intens…