April 21, 2014

Dobber Sports

2014-04-21

As I noted in the forum, I didn’t feel that the Seabrook hit should result in a suspension. He got three games. And after much discussion with other folks, I have to agree that it was a head shot and the NHL is clamping down on that so…okay. But consider – the hit was not from behind, Backes saw it coming. Seabrook’s one skate was still on the ice. And had Backes been standing up straight, it would have been shoulder to shoulder. I don’t think there was intent. Given all that, and the fact that it’s the playoffs…I still don’t see more than a game here.

And disclosure: I have no vested interest in the Blackhawks. I don’t own any in a fantasy league or hockey pool, and I’m not a fan of the team itself. I picked the Blues to win the series (and the Cup) and if anything, I would prefer that calls go against Chicago. I’m on an island alone in this, but I just don’t see more than a game for this hit. Chicago’s hopes really took a beating with this decision. Here’s the hit:

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Former junior star (108 points for Kitchener in 2010-11) and Adirondack leading scorer Jason Akeson is an underrated player. Never drafted, not really respected due to a perceived lack of size, strength and speed – he looks alright to me. You often see prospects make a splash for a game or two upon being recalled, I’ll grant you that. But I’d like to see him get a longer look in training camp. The problem is, Scott Laughton probably gets the next free spot. And so we go back to the ‘respect’ thing. Last week I asked for suggestions on a name for someone who is the opposite of Golden Boy. The name I liked the best was Rodney Dangerfield related – I’d like to explore something along those lines, I’ll give it more thought.

Anyway, Akeson scored Sunday, giving him points in three of his four career NHL games. I love it when players produce, and overcome the hurdles of status and pedigree – and opportunity, for that matter – to do it. Sometimes they really pan out (David Desharnais) and sometimes timely injuries get in the way just when it was starting to roll (Cal O’Reilly) and sometimes they just never earn enough respect to really get going (Simon Gamache). But I root for them all.

More on Akeson here. And a lot of positive things were said about him by his teammates here, despite the double-minor in Game 1.

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You know who has something to prove and he’s playing like it? Brad Richards. One point in 10 games last year, then he goes out and gets three points in Game 1 this year. Sunday he had six shots on goal – and has 11 in the two playoff games. He saw more ice time in those two games than any two games dating back to January 21 and 23. So ‘A’ for effort. I just don’t see the production coming though – he has been blanked in 12 of his last 16 games.

By contrast – Mats Zuccarello, a superior player receiving an inferior check, saw 31:37 over the last two games (Richards saw about 40 minutes). And he has been blanked in five out his last 16 games.

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