February 27 2017 07:00AM
The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don't quite deserve their own article.
The trades have begun. After a inactive start to the season, actual moves have been made with real impact players. Patrick Eaves and Tomas Jurco were sent to Anaheim and Chicago last Friday night. Los Angeles acquired Ben Bishop? Martin Hanzal gets released from the shackles of the Arizona Coyotes and irrelevant hockey.
February 26 2017 11:05AM
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SPORTS
On Saturday Night Headlines, Nick Kypreos reported that the Leafs are inquiring about Brendan Smith and Riley Sheahan.
A number of pieces have already been written, including several by myself, analyzing the state of the Leafs' fourth line centre situation. Here, here, here, and here. One might suggest that all that can be said has been said (I definitely plan to leave it be after this unless an acquisition is made). And, other than the new factor of the pursuit of Riley Sheahan, that certainly seems true. So this piece will focus entirely on the value of Sheahan himself and the Leafs' apparent pursuit thereof.
February 25 2017 12:00PM
(Charles LeClaire / USA Today Sports)
I don't believe in the Wideman curse.
It isn't that I refuse to acknowledge that the Flames are being penalized more heavily this season than last, but rather it is that I don't believe it is entirely due to the incident where Dennis Wideman cross checked Don Henderson into the boards.
Kerry Fraser wrote a piece in late January responding directly to the question of whether the Flames are being unfairly targeted by the officials because of Wideman. I've recommended it to not only Flames fans, but fans of any team.
But back to the Wideman curse, the Flames are simultaneously receiving more penalties than any other team in the league (ahead of Colorado by 0.03 penalty kills per game) and being penalized at around a league-average rate of 18%.
How is that possible?
They are committing a greater number of infractions.
This season I have tracked a number of Flames games for
penalty infractions committed by both the Flames and their opponents, logging
those infractions which were called and which were uncalled.
I did something similar at the end of last season and decided to repeat it again this season but over a longer period.
In all I logged data on twelve games, or roughly 15% of the entire Flames’ season, and compared that data to an equal or greater number of non-Flames games from around the NHL. (Be warned - image-heavy after the jump.)
February 25 2017 10:00AM
Through three quarters of the season, it's tough to argue against Mikael Backlund being Calgary's most valuable player. In the midst of a career season, Backlund will be eligible for a contract extension starting July 1 and there's plenty to suggest the Flames should lock him up as soon as they can. While it's still a little ways out, I think we can start to get a pretty good picture of what Backlund's next deal might look like.
February 24 2017 05:40PM
The Toronto Maple Leafs need points wherever they can get them right now. The Atlantic Division race is very, very night right now; with six or so weeks to go in the season, the blue and white can very well win the whole thing or drop out of the playoff picture. If it's the latter, one of the things that will surely be pointed at is how they've done in the shootout.
Specifically, they have a 1-7 record this year in the skills competition; the worst in the league. Washington and Buffalo both have somewhat similarly gaudy 1-5 records, but after that, its no contest. Let's make no mistake either; those seven points could go a long way.