April 4, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-04-04

UPDATE: Jonathan Bernier is out three weeks with an MCL sprain. So his season is done.

 

If you’ve got masochistic tendencies now’s your chance to ride James Reimer.

 

 

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The legend of Late-Season Bob continues to grow as Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 37 shots in shutting out his former team. He is now 2-0-0 against the Flyers. His monthly splits tell a story of a March/April superstar but there probably isn't a large enough sample to be conclusive. Still, I'm buying this Koolaid. Maybe he just winds up playing well all of next season and isn't available for trade. But if he is, I'm jumping on him.

 

Dobber pointed out earlier in the week that Nathan Horton's absence in the lineup opens up more opportunity for Cam Atkinson. I don't buy it. Horton plays on a separate line and doesn't block his power play time. The guy who really benefits is RJ Umberger who gets back on the power play and onto Ryan Johansen's line after being scratch in three of the last six games.

 

Atkinson has points in back-to-back games though, while Umberger was held scoreless, so what do I know?

 

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Scott Hartnell was held off the board for the third straight game. He did land eight shots on goal and has 16 over the last three games so you know it's only a matter of time.

 

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The Hurricanes got to play spoiler against Dallas scooping a 4-1 victory. That was good news for Anton Khudobin owners. He's won back-to-back starts. This guy is going to be the backup again next season? Puh-lease.

 

If I'm the new Hurricanes GM I'm dialing up goalie needy teams like Minnesota, Winnipeg and the Islanders to see if they would swap their incumbent for Cam Ward. Not that I'm a huge believer in Khudobin as a full-time starter (he was a Decepticon on my list). That doesn't mean he doesn't deserve to be a starter. After all, there are 30 spots available. I just don't think he works out as an above-average starter if given the full run. But he does deserve the chance to prove me wrong.

 

The Jordan Staal/Eric Staal Freaky Friday body swap is finally over. Jordan hasn't scored in five straight, while Eric has goals in back-to-back contests. All is right in the world.

 

I will say that if you are a believer in age curves Eric Staal turns 30 in October. That's the magical age where the average player will see significant declines in production, at least at even strength. But let's look at Staal's non-power play scoring (for simplicity's sake) year over year.

 

2003-04 – 24 points – 81 games

2005-06 – 60 points – 82 games

2006-07 – 44 points – 82 games

2007-08 – 47 points – 82 games

2008-09 – 51 points – 82 games

2009-10 – 47 points – 70 games

2010-11 – 47 points – 81 games

2011-12 – 47 points – 82 games

2012-13 – 44 points – 48 games

2013-14 – 45 points – 73 games

 

Basically, he is the model of consistency. If you are concerned about Eric's production because of this down season you need to snap out of it. He has suffered because of reduced power play production, which can be more fickle than even strength scoring simply because so many fewer minute