May 23, 2011

Dobber Sports



Toronto! Thursday, June 16 is looking like the date of the next DobberHockey event. For more information and to weigh in with your thoughts/vote on the date/place – details are here.


Breaking: Nick Kypreos is reporting that Brian Rafalski will retire this week due to nagging injuries. Unexpected to say the least, but this should help the likes of Kronwall, and Kindl move up a rung on the ladder. If the Wings lose Lidstrom too (unlikely) then they could be in trouble. (edit: Ericsson is a UFA)


Since the Blackhawks have signed two goaltenders in the past several days, I should probably comment. Alexander Salak's deal is one-way, which means he will be the backup to Cory Crawford. No disrespect to Marty Turco, or…actually, lots of disrespect to Marty Turco… but this is a huge upgrade. (On August 2, 2010 I said "Turco’s skills have eroded and there are a dozen free agent goaltenders cheaper and better." So don't say I didn't warn them!) Salak will probably enjoy a 35-65 split (percentage, not games) with Crawford. But there is a small risk of a coup. Salak could be this year's Halak to Crawford's Price. So be prepared. But the money invested in Crawford will see to it that he runs the show in the end, because the team would just do what Montreal did and remove the controversy via trade. But if all of this does happen, it would cause havoc to the season ahead for Crawford owners.


What I'm saying is, expect the 65-35 split. But if another Halak/Price situation rears its ugly head, then expect it to play out just like it did in Montreal. That means don't bail on Crawford, it would just mean a tough year.


On a related note – if you rank all 60 goalies in the NHL and you feel that your goaltender is the 15th best goaltender…it may not be the greatest idea to go out and sign a goaltender who is young and up-and-coming. Unless you have an elite goalie, someone in the Top 6 or 7, you should probably sign a veteran backup who is happy with his role and has no designs on a starting job. Alex Auld, Brent Johnson, etc are examples of this. Examples of young, up-and-coming backups include Michal Neuvirth (became a starter), Jaroslav Halak (became a starter), Tuukka Rask (became a starter and later a backup again). As you can see, the young backup often steals the starting job/causes havoc. Bottom line: Salak may be too good!


Interesting to see Vancouver take five penalties in a row and then San Jose take six in a row. Therein lies the difference – San Jose had their penalties happen very close together, giving up two-man advantages.


Sami Salo played 23 minutes for the second game in a row. Prior to that, his playoff high was 19:28. All four of his playoff points (three last night) have come on the power play. That puts him fifth on the team in PP points, but he is seventh in PP ice time. With Samuelsson out, there was more PP time to go around and Salo saw over four minutes.


Cody Hodgson saw just 5:02 of ice time. He's been getting valuable exposure to the NHL postseason…but nothing beyond that. It should give him the lift he needs to win a job in training camp.


Much better, Roberto. I've been a critic all postseason, so I need to give positive credit as well.


San Jose held Vancouver to just 13 shots on goal, while getting 35 shots on Luongo. I don't have the exact data in front of me, but I would guess that 10 of those 13 shots were on the power play.


Ben Eager was a healthy scrat