January 05 2017 10:58AM
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS
Throughout the offseason, a lot of the work that I (and others) put out into the public sphere took a lot of criticism for how it saw the Leafs. The biggest disconnect, it seemed, was where people saw the team on the rebuild timeline, and what they wanted to do as a result. Many saw a team that just finished 30th and believed that there was still plenty of pain to deal with, while myself and others saw a window of opportunity to take advantage of the collection of underpaid youth and skill and push forward as a relatively competitive team.
Even still, even the offseason being far from perfect for the Leafs in my eyes, I felt pretty confident in Toronto's chances.
January 05 2017 07:47AM
The Edmonton Oilers fourth overall pick in 2016 has had a stagnant rookie season. Jesse Puljujarvi has dressed for 27 of Edmonton's 39 games, often playing under 10 minutes a game. Puljujarvi has only eight points during this time, which raises the question whether the winger belongs in the NHL. The Oilers' handling of Puljujarvi's rookie season mirrors one of a similar high Peter Chiarelli-draft pick, Tyler Seguin.
January 04 2017 04:00PM
Here's all that you need to know ahead of Canada's semi-final tilt against Sweden tonight.
January 04 2017 02:00PM
Since the implementation of Paul Jerrard's more opportunistic, aggressive penalty kill we've started seeing a steady rise from among the league's worst to about middle of the pack, which is a positive trend given how often this Calgary Flames team is penalized. It's not perfect by any stretch of the means, but it's on a good trajectory.
One major opportunity exists: elevating the second penalty kill unit to a higher level. To do that, it should include Sam Bennett as a near permanent fixture in place of Matt Stajan.
January 04 2017 06:42AM
Last season, fans were calling for Jimmy Howard to be traded. His mediocre play as the Red Wings starting goaltender had been holding the team back for the last couple of years. And, when he fell to injury, backup Petr Mrazek rose to the occasion, posting a .951 SV% and 1.31 GAA through January and the first half of February.
Now that the Wings had a young goalie with a high ceiling, there was no need for the aging Jimmy Howard and his $5.3 million cap hit. Unfortunately, his contract doesn’t come off the books until 2019-20. Due to this, Howard was deemed “untradable”.
As it turned out, this was a blessing in disguise for the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard has been the strongest player on the team with stats that rank him with the best goalies in the league. Before falling to an MCL Sprain that is keeping him out 4-6 weeks, he was making a strong case for himself as a Vezina Trophy candidate.