Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Too Long for Twitter- November 6th

  1. Claude Giroux has had a brutal start to the season, but I’m surprised at how many people have now decided that he’s not worthy of playing for Team Canada because of it. In the three seasons before this he put up 217 points in 207 games, he can play wing and center, he’s tough, he’s good on the PK, and he has 55 points in 50 career playoff games. Remember this shift against Pittsburgh in the playoffs? He actually skated by his own bench before he did and said “watch what I’m going to do.” But we’re not taking him cause of 14 bad games on a crap team? How is this real conversation? Giroux is a no-brainer to me.
  2. Much like the Desharnais contract before it, I think the Habs made a mistake giving Emelin the money they did. And I like Emelin. He’s obviously really physical and he’s solid on the penalty kill, but he’s 27, has played two years in the league, and hasn’t averaged over 20 minutes of ice time so that makes him worth over $4million/year? At the very least, I think Emelin will play in their top four because he and Gorges are their only signed D-men (they’ll get Subban done; he’s an RFA), but he’s better suited to be a 4-5D, not a 3-4D. When are teams going to learn you don’t pay guys good money when they don’t up points?
  3. Another player that falls under that category? Paul Gaustad. The Nashville Predators, of all teams, pay their fourth line center (Fisher, Cullen, Legwand are all ahead of him) $3.25M. I love trying to find good grinders that can be “glue guys” on your bottom lines, but it’s unbelievable how teams don’t focus on the talent portion of their roster first before trying to supplement it with grinders. Nashville can’t afford to pay their fourth line center that much. That’s the same money that Clarke MacArthur just signed for this summer.
  4. It’s becoming more and more clear that the Oilers have to start trading some skill up front for some actual defensemen and/or goaltending. The crazy thing is that Hall, Eberle, RNH, Gagner, Yakupov, Perron, and Hemsky are players that are all cut from the same cloth if you know what I mean. It’s not like any of these guys are big, physical, excellent defensively or anything else; they are all simply skilled offensive players of varying degrees. The Oilers might challenge your defense, but they don’t challenge you in their own end and there’s no commitment on the back end to being a strong team and making the opposition work for their goals. Eakins basically said as much a few days ago talking about how his players loved to score but not play defense.
  5. That said, the Yakupov talk reminds me of the Stamkos talk in his rookie season. Apparently, the Rangers actually agreed to a deal to bring him in that was nixed, but you get the point here. You don’t trade a kid before he’s barely even played in this league. Frankly, the Oilers should be trying to trade Eberle, or maybe Gagner. Obviously Hemsky too. Keep Yakupov, Hall, and RNH, and build around them.
  6. And of course, now Yakupov is being linked to the Rangers. Sather tried to poach Stamkos as I just noted, and way back when he tried to steal Lecalvier from Tampa when he struggled early on. And those are only examples I know of. If Sather is trying to poach your young struggling player that you drafted first overall, that’s the seal of approval that he’s going to be a star.
  7. I guess I’m in the minority here, and I’ll probably get ripped for it, but I really don’t believe the Lapierre hit on Boyle was THAT bad.  The bad hits from behind to me are the ones where a shoulder is driven through a guy’s back as he’s facing the other way. Boyle got to the puck first, which Lapierre knew was going to happen, and decided to turn the other way and reverse the play rather than try to chip it by Lapierre. Lapierre anticipated the chip and geared up to hammer Boyle but when Boyle reversed he kind of eased off and pushed him down.  He obviously made contact and it was stupid, but he didn’t make contact with the head and toss his head into the wall. The problem I find with a lot of these hits is that player’s anticipate the opponent is going to do something, but when they don’t they still finish the hit as if they did. Was it unnecessary? Yeah. Could it have been avoided once Boyle turned? I don’t think so Lapierre was going pretty fast. Could he have hammered him a lot harder? Yes. It was an unfortunate play, but I don’t think it was jaw dropping brutal.
  8. In games featuring Dallas-Colorado and Nashville-Florida I saw icing plays in the dying minute where the winning team was protecting a lead, shot the puck down and the icing was waived off yet the defensive guy touched the puck first. That’s because the refs made subjective calls to keep the play alive. I don’t know how they fix that, but that’s a serious problem to me.  If a Canadian team got burned by that it’s all we’d hear about it. Look at the teams I mentioned when that happened.
  9. If Moulson was a by-product of Tavares, the Islanders will win that trade. Otherwise, it was pointless because Vanek won’t score much more than what Moulson would have on the Isles (what, 40 goals by Vanek instead of 30 by Moulson?). So by that token they could have just traded the first and second round pick they tacked on in that deal for another legitimate goal scorer and kept Moulson.  One thing I will say about Moulson is that he reminds me of Heatley in terms of being a guy with size and a big shot but not a good skater, and we can all see how fast Heatley has declined. Heatley is two years older than Moulson.
  10. Before the Leafs signed Mikhail Grabovski to his long-term contract that has since been bought out, they shopped him around to see if a trade was worthwhile. At the time, it was thought that the Leafs could have moved Grabovski to Chicago for Brandon Pirri and a draft pick. It was a trade I said I’d take at the time so Pirri has been someone I’ve monitored ever since to see how he progresses. He led the AHL in scoring last year and as of this writing he has 5 points in 10 games for the Blackhawks playing a little over 11 minutes a night. Something to monitor, I guess.
  11. One last thing on the Leafs: If they are really looking to bring in a forward then they should be eyeing the Florida Panthers as a trade partner more than anyone else. Florida is open for business and has a bunch of center options the Leafs could get in on: Marcel Goc, Scott Gomez, Jesse Winchester, and maybe even Shawn Matthias (he hasn’t had a great start, so maybe Florida is finally fed up with him).  Most of those players won’t cost much and two of them are guys that can potentially help for years to come in Goc and Matthias.
  12. I’m not sure where people get off talking about Brandon Saad playing on team USA just because he partners with Patrick Kane in Chicago. Here are USA forwards that are better than Saad: Kessel, JVR, Kesler, Pavelski, Ryan, Brown, Pacioretty, Backes, Stastny, Parise, Callahan, Wheeler, Stepan and the aforementioned Kane. That’s 14 right there.
  13. Another American forward worth noting right now: Kyle Okposo. He’s playing with John Tavares and has 19 points in 15 games, but nobody is saying a word about this guy! He was compared to Jarome Iginla in his draft year and although he hasn’t become anything close to Iggy, maybe he’s finally starting to realize that potential a little bit. Okposo had 24 points (but only four goals) in 48 games last year, but then came up big in the playoffs with three goals and four points in six games.
  14. At what point do we start taking Tampa Bay seriously? They are second in the East right now, but it’s worth noting they had a strong start last year too before falling fast. I said last season when Tampa got Ben Bishop that their tandem for this year reminded me of Reimer-Scrivens last year. The question is, is Bishop going to be a .925sv% goalie all year? Stamkos and St. Louis can score, Purcell can score, and Filppula has been an unbelievable acquisition so far. A few other things I question are: Is Alex Killorn seriously going to get the 70 points he’s on pace for? Sami Salo is in their top four; when is he going to inevitably get hurt?  Same goes for Ryan Malone who I’ve always like but just can’t seem to play a full season. Tampa will fight the question marks all season but they’ve had a hell of a start and have a great farm system. Maybe Yzerman does know what he’s doing?
  15. Biggest difference I’ve seen in Dallas from the start of the season until right now (they started 2-3-0, and are 5-3-2 since): they’ve realized Dillon-Robidas are their best shutdown pairing, not Goligoski-Gonchar. They will be in tough to make the playoffs, but I love the direction of this team.

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