May 3, 2014

Darren Kennedy

2014-05-03

The Daily Ramblings are a lot like Madison Square Garden. Players want to play there – it's a grand stage with a long and storied history. If you're a poolie, then I can't think of a better place than this community to be providing your thoughts. A big thanks to Dobber for the shoulder tap and letting me run with them this morning. I'll try not to throw any blind passes up the middle, or spend too much time ranting and raving about Nail Yakupov (as I am wont to do). Onto today's ramblings…

 

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There has been fallout (boy has there EVER been fallout) after the San Jose-Los Angeles game seven. Many talk show hosts have been asking if it's time to give up on guys like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Some going as far as stating that they must be traded in order to save the Franchise, pass the torch to Couture and Pavelski, yadda, yadda, yadda… All of this reminds me that it's often easier to be outraged then it is to look at a situation with balanced perspective. Outrage is a bit more fun and hey you get to use exclamation marks liberally!!!

 

 

Is it disappointing that San Jose lost? Certainly. Should they have been able to win one of those four games? Yes. Does losing to one of hockey's best teams (LA was third in the league for Corsi % – 61.3 at five on five) in seven games mean that your roster is fatally flawed? No.

 

Over the years we've been forced to come to grip with the fact that random things can happen in hockey. A puck misses the top corner by an inch, or a bad penalty call allows a team to score late. I don't subscribe to the theory that Thornton and Marleau are missing the mythological "winning" gene (scientists are yet to map this one out, despite valiant efforts) that only guys like Toews and Bergeron seem to carry. They're both fantastic hockey players.

 

 

All that a team can do year-to-year is put together the best team possible and carry the play as often as they can. Outside of maybe Detroit, no team has done this more consistently in the modern era than San Jose (they haven't missed the post season since 2002-2003). Sure, it would have been nice if they made it to a cup final, or more regularly out of the first round. Some of those losses can be explained by poor play, others by bad luck, and sometimes (like this year) there were simply two good teams playing and someone ultimately had to go home.

 

I hope for the sake of Sharks' fans that Doug Wilson is able to avoid the growing pressure to placate media outlets and impose change for the sake of change. He has a terrific hockey team that will likely be among the top five or so contenders again next year. And really, what more could you reasonably ask for?

 

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The New York Rangers beat Pittsburgh three to two on an overtime goal from Derick Brassard (2012's trendy sleeper pick that I've drafted too high on many occasions).

 

Still no goals from Sidney Crosby or Rick Nash (although hey did combine for seven shots) which means we'll be treated with another 48 hours of "is Crosby still the best player in hockey?" The answer is "yes", by the way.

 

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I still think this could end up being a relatively easy series for Pittsburgh. The Penguins won the shot battle 36 to 27, although they were down two goals after the first which may have had an impact.

 

New York has a clear advantage in net with Lundqvist over Fluery, but they don't have nearly the same options offensively. Where Pittsburgh could really make a difference is on the power play. There were eight penalties tonight and if that number can stay high it will favour the Penguins (they led the NHL with a 23.4% success rate, while the Rangers were 15th at 18.2%).

 

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Is it time to think of Brad Richards as a fantasy asset again? Did I really just write that?! The 34 year old scored again last night, giving him 7 points and 29 shots in 8 post season contests. This following up a 51 point, 259 shot regular seaso