Ramblings: Elliott, Andersen, Murray, TV Ratings and More

by Dobber on April 20, 2016

Rambling about Brian Elliott, Matt Murray, Frederik Andersen, Jonas Hiller…and non-goalies too, of course

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URGENT! Details on the DobberHockey Hockey Pool winners and prizes – find out here if you won, and how to claim your prize. Only five out of 20 have reached out to me and claimed prizes – tell your friends to check this link if they finished near the Top 20! Two jerseys still unclaimed, among the prizes…

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The Penguins held the Rangers to just 17 shots on goal, so rookie Matt Murray had an easy time of things. He can get the Pens safely out of this series and frankly I think he gives them the best chance at taking down the Capitals. That chance won’t arrive if Marc-Andre Fleury returns. If Fleury remains sidelined and (I’m getting ahead of myself here, but bear with me) Murray gets them past the Caps, I think they’ll just ride Murray as far as they can. Regardless of Fleury returning for Round 3. He’s making enough of a statement that he’ll cannibalize some of Fleury’s starts next year. Fleury, if healthy, is a 65-start goaltender. With Murray on the scene, that could be cut to 60 starts. A Bishop/Vasilevskiy scenario.

Phil Kessel has six SOG last night and that moves him to second in the NHL for the playoffs with 17. He’s two shots behind leader Aleksander Barkov.

Will Kris Letang get suspended for trying to chop down this tree (i.e. Stalberg’s neck)? Letang is the last person I’d expect to swing a stick at another player’s head, given his own issues with head injuries…

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An interesting (though doubtful) option for the Penguins if they get hit with two or three scoring-line injuries up front – Daniel Sprong. His season in junior is done (Charlottedown was eliminated by Shawinigan) and he has joined Wilkes-Barre in the AHL.

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I still marvel at how quickly Nikita Kucherov rose to stardom. Yes, he was a dominant junior scorer. But you get two dozen of those guys every year. Three-quarters of them don’t even make it to the show. And half of those that do, make it as a secondary scorer or a checker. The ones that become stars are often first-round picks (and in the top half of that round). And usually they take a few years to get rolling. Kucherov can’t even be held in the AHL for a full season – he was just too good. In his first full NHL season he gets 65 points. And today, at just 22 years of age, he already has 30 points in 30 career playoff games. Elite numbers. In fact, most elite players these days can’t even do that. Three more points last night – Kucherov can’t be stopped. Not when the games really matter. Clutch. I often say that he’s Tampa’s best offensive player, but when I say that I don’t say it with conviction. After all, Steven Stamkos is there. But Stamkos wouldn’t be doing this. Kucherov is putting on a clinic. I’ll be saying it with conviction now.

Jonathan Drouin is now on the Top PP unit. And I’m guessing he’s there to stay, given his three PP assists Tuesday. That “risky own” label is starting to peel off. If Stamkos goes (this summer), I think Drouin will thrive with the added ice time.

In case you missed this on the weekend, Anton Stralman (fractured leg) is a possibility for the second round.

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Jonas Hiller has signed to play in the Swiss League next season. Word is that it’s a three-year deal. No surprise there. I suspect that Karri Ramo will re-sign with the Flames.

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The Ducks and coach Bruce Boudreau stopped with the ridiculous obsession with John Gibson (two losses) and gave the Game 3 start to their better goalie, Frederik Andersen. The result was a shutout win. It’s Andersen’s ship now, all the way through. Because if he starts sucking, the team is out anyways. If he keeps winning and pulls them into the second round, then he’s won their confidence for the duration.

Nick Ritchie was sent to the AHL and Shawn Horcoff drew in.

So far our favorite sleeper picks have just one point each in the three games – Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg.

The latest on Brandon Pirri – he’s still not skating. If he’s not even skating yet, I think you can safely rule him out for the duration of this round.

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Brian Elliott, Stanley Cup winning goaltender. Does that sound right to you? It’s growing on me.

Elliott faced 42 shots for the win. That’s 151 shots faced in the four games and he’s stopped 144 of them (0.954 SV%).

Vladimir Tarasenko, like his countryman Kucherov, won the day with three points.

Dmitrij Jaskin has been scratched all series long. He’d make a good trade target for other NHL teams. But if he can’t get out of St. Louis, his fantasy potential will be shot. He had 99 points in the QMJHL at the age of 19 and joined the Blues later that same year. Poolies (myself included) were very excited over this guy and yet here we are three years later and it’s only been sideways steps.

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Corey Crawford in these playoffs: 1-3, 0.905 SV%

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Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was suspended for one game for this hit on Dmitry Orlov. This is pretty bad. If the Flyers weren’t done in one game anyway, I’d this suspension was far too light.

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Shocking (not shocking): Hockey Playoff TV Ratings Down 61 Percent in Canada. We knew it would be down. But this much? I thought Canada was less ‘homerish’ than that. I can understand Toronto. Over here, it’s pretty much Leafs or nothing. But across the country just one in 69 people? With access to all the games, we can be fans of any team we want. I would think that there are tons of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, etc. fans in Canada still very interested.

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TSN reports that NCAA free agent Drake Caggiula was at the PHI-WAS game. The Frozen Four’s most outstanding player is apparently looking at PHI, EDM, OTT, VAN, CHI, BUF. Caggiula is from Pickering, the city that I have called home for the past 11 years. Hmmm. So he was 10 when I moved here. Man, how old am I? But I digress. Just a piece of advice, Drake: pick a place where you will actually get a shot. Cross Chicago off your list right now. Cross Edmonton off your list as well – they have first overall picks in abundance that play your style already. Consider Vancouver or Buffalo – those are the teams with the least forward depth and odds are you’ll be in the NHL within two seasons. As a regular.

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Today’s the day I get to delve into the Fantasy Prospects Report for the first time. All the procrastinating is done: Intro written, format prepared, desk cleaned up, inbox cleaned up. Nothing left to do but research and editing. Which to me is the fun part. This will be the 10th edition of the FPR and it will go on sale on May 1 – but it won’t be released until June 1. The “packs” (both Keeper and Ultimate) will also go on sale on May 1.