Ramblings: Elliott, Bishop, Giroux and more (May 16)

Dobber

2016-05-15

 

Rambling about Elliott, Bishop, Giroux, a couple of prospects and more

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Seven wins. That’s all that’s left from declaring Brian Elliott a Stanley Cup winner. So if he wins the Cup, would that finally put an end to the Elliott vs. Allen battle for next season? I would give you an unequivocal “yes”…were it not for all the injuries. Don’t ever forget this and overrate either one of these two quality goaltenders – they are fragile and that fragility will probably put a cap on how many games they get into in 2016-17.

In his 15 playoff games so far, Elliott is boasting a 0.932 SV%

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San Jose were credited with 14 hits last night. David Backes was credited with 11.

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I wish there was more that could be said about the game itself. I watched just the second half of it, from just after the Lehtera goal, and it went pretty much according to script in terms of ice time and how the players were used. The Steen line was out there a lot against the Thornton line and were dominated at every turn, but Elliott saved the day. I did find it interesting as to how early Pete DeBoer pulled his goalie – nearly three minutes left in the one-goal game. But kudos to him for having a sense of things and taking that risk. I say ‘sense of things’ because the Sharks had full control and the Blues were on their heels. With that in mind, pulling the goalie for the offensive zone draw was the right move. Most other coaches would not have done it.

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It’s looking more and more as though goaltender Ben Bishop will be between the pipes for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. In fact, the Tampa team very soon could look completely different from what we expected – both Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman are very close. Stamkos returned to practice Sunday and he was no longer wearing a ‘no contact’ jersey (though I don’t know why, since he’s still not taking contact). He’s apparently on a new type of blood thinners that will allow him to play. Stralman, who has been recovering from a fractured fibula, has seen his status changed to “definitely day-to-day”.

As for Bishop, this is what happened (in case you missed it):

As I mentioned in the forum, after I saw him fall directly down on that leg and bending his knee as far as it would bend (and quickly), I was reminded of when I fell the same way a couple of weeks ago. It made me think that there was a chance that he wouldn’t be out. Sure he could be out two months if he tore something or if the fall went off to the side even just a little bit. But it looked as though he went straight down on it. And when that happened to me I yelled out (like a baby) and then rolled around in pain (like a baby). It hurts! I hadn’t bent my knee that far in years (ahem – decades?) and to do it in an instant like that with my 225-pound body killed! But was eventually able to get up and walk it off. The next day, that knee felt good – actually a little looser than before (which is a good thing). So to me, that Bishop injury wasn’t a 100% guarantee that he’d be sidelined. And judging from the reports out of Tampa, it looks like he won’t be out at all.

There is also word that Tyler Johnson will be back for Game 2 as well! A fully healthy Tampa Bay lineup? You don’t say! Suddenly the hottest team in the NHL – Pittsburgh – has its work cut out for them…

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I’m a Pittsburgh fan as in – they’re one of my teams I cheer for but have no paraphernalia – so in case my opinion here is biased, can a Rangers fan explain why Ryan Callahan wasn’t suspended for this?

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The Islanders have released prospect Sebastian Collberg. He was placed on unconditional waivers. Collberg never came close to reaching his potential. He was the key part of the Thomas Vanek trade in 2014, so it was hoped that a fresh start would get him back to becoming a reasonable prospect. That didn’t happen. This article here does a great job in describing his ups and downs (mostly downs) so far, as well as the entire Vanek and Matt Moulson situations.

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Joonas Kemppainen gave the NHL a shot last season. He even got into 44 games with Boston after signing as a free agent around this time last year. But he was sent down at the end of February and probably got the impression that he wouldn’t get into many NHL games next season. The 28-year-old signed to play in the KHL.

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Gustav Nyquist is leading the WC tournament in goal-scoring with seven goals. I consider him a ‘buy low’ for this summer as I think he will bounce back next season. That being said, I  don’t believe he will ever be the player we thought he’d be. So a reasonable ‘bounce back’ year would be mid- to high-50s for points. Another Red Wing, Teemu Pulkkinen is in the doghouse with Team Finland. He was sat in the third period Saturday and was a healthy scratch on Sunday. He worries me a little, as a prospect. I’m worried that he’ll Tomas Jurco his way out of the Detroit lineup. He was forcing the Red Wings to keep him and play him…and now he’s no longer doing that and in fact is not doing that for his country’s team either.

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Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere will be out for 10 to 12 weeks after they undergo surgery this coming week. For both players it will be performed on their right hips as well they will have their “bilateral lower abdominal tears repaired.” This takes them into late August which is more than enough recovery time for training camp (and the World Cup). What is worrisome is that, in the case of Gostisbehere, this is a second serious injury in two years. And in the case of Giroux it is one of a long list of injuries he’s sustained over the past several years. His production is already declining and even though he’s just 28 I do have concerns. In the link above, the author wonders if the decline we have been seeing in his production will accelerate even more.

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Pittsburgh line combos in practice yesterday:

Rust – Crosby – Sheary

– Malkin – Hornqvist

Hagelin – Bonino – Kessel

Fehr – Cullen – Sundqvist

Both Chris Kunitz and Tom Kuhnhackl got the day off “for maintenance”. The article also noted that Justin Schultz could be in for Olli Maatta Monday night. Then again, with only 11 forwards listed above, perhaps they go with seven defensemen.

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UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency NYR Players
30.7% PAVEL BUCHNEVICH ARTEMI PANARIN MIKA ZIBANEJAD
25.3% KAAPO KAKKO CHRIS KREIDER RYAN STROME
19.1% FILIP CHYTIL BRETT HOWDEN BRENDAN LEMIEUX

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