Welcome to Game 7 day! Philly and the Rangers! Avs and Wild! Kings and Sharks!
To celebrate – I have brought back, after a two-year hiatus, the Ultimate Fantasy Pack! Too much demand, couldn’t ignore it any longer. So the Prospects Report, Fantasy Guide, Playoff List (next year) and Midseason Guide for 30 bucks – nearly half price. Take a look here (or just pre-order the Prospects Report – whatever floats your boat).
Or, the timing is coincidental. Something like that.
Jaromir Jagr has indicated to New Jersey beatwriter Tom Gulitti that he is close to an agreement with the Devils to play another year. Lou Lamoriello has similarly hinted. That’s easily Jagr’s best move here – stick with what works. He doesn’t have time to fart around with different teams and hoping for the best coaching/line combinations. I don’t think anyone expects 67 points again – and certainly not 82 games (that’s the number that shocked me more). But with the Devils, I think 60 points is doable again, if he can play 73-76 games.
Man, and I thought after last year’s pitiful playoff performance (say that three times fast) that he was done.
My three Norris picks were Hedman, Keith and Karlsson. Weber would be fourth and Giordano fifth. Zdeno Chara (sixth on my list – hardly an insult to him or any Chara-backers) is not the player he once was and even if the fancy stats point to his being the best defenseman this year – there is more to the game than just possession. If he’s a Top 3 defenseman today, then he should have been walking away with 10 Norris Trophies between 2003 and 2012 – because he was better then. You look at the possession numbers and you can see that he has had an awesome year, but not Top 3. Is Top 6 a big insult? No – Top 6 is still better than 180 other defensemen. Let’s not ignore how strong and well-coached his team is. The Bruins were getting into the playoffs with or without Chara. No way the Lightning get in without Hedman. I’m happy that the journalists are taking statistics more seriously these days, but let’s not have the pendulum swing too far the other way.
As for Erik Karlsson – I understand that there is more to the award than offense. Obviously. That’s why I had two players ahead of him. But the anti-offense blowback may have gone a little too far. The guy had 72 points – 18% more than any other defenseman. It’s one stat and shouldn’t be enough to win an award, but it should be enough to get him in as a finalist. Anyway, two of my three picks did not get in. I’m fine with Weber over one of them. But disappointed that Chara gets in over the other.