The Dump and Chase – 04/05/2011

Sharks Clinch 4th Straight Pacific Division Title

The San Jose Sharks demolished the L.A. Kings 6-1 on the way to claiming their fourth straight Pacific Division title. It’s an impressive feat considering that the Sharks were in last place in the ultra tight Pacific as recent as January. Of course, the measure for real success in San Jose is determined in the playoffs. Positioning in the West is still up for grabs between San Jose and Detroit, one point separates the teams in the standings and both have three games remaining.

Flyers Beat Writer Still Favours Flyers Goalie as Third Calder Candidate

Frank Seravelli’s reasoning behind leaning towards Sergei Bobrovsky as a Calder candidate seems to have little to do with his play in the NHL and more to do with where he came from. He does ask to not be called a homer which, in effect, is like saying ‘with all due respect’ before an insult.

For me, the case for Bobrovsky is simple. He didn’t even land in North America until August. Few knew his name, let alone what to expect from him. Bobrovsky hadn’t even played a single game in a North American-style rink until a rookie game against Washington in September.

Bobrovsky, 22, went from the worst team in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League to one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Now, he is leading the Flyers into the Stanley Cup playoffs as their starter apparent – and he has won over a fan base that places more pressure on their goaltending than any city outside of Montreal…

But there is something to be said for a guy like Bobrovsky, who still barely knows a lick of the English language, and was so afraid to leave his crease for the first half of the season that he didn’t play a single puck. He is a true rookie in every sense of the word – and he deserves to be a finalist in Las Vegas in June.

Just don’t call me a homer for giving him my vote.

Katz Reaching on Edmonton Arena Talks

Via Edmonton Journal:

The Oilers owner’s latest PR gaffe -a letter to Mayor Stephen Mandel, indicating that Katz is not yet willing to back a ticket tax to help fund the project -is bizarre.

As my colleague Paula Simons wrote in The Journal’s Edmonton Commons blog Monday, it’s a little late in the day for Katz to pour cold water on the ticket tax idea, which has been kicked around for months.

Without it, the funding model for the $450-million arena project has more holes in it than a brick of Swiss cheese.

But Katz’s suggestion to Mandel that NHL commish Gary Bettman could play a role in the arena talks raises the weirdness quotient to a whole new level. Unless the NHL’s chief salesman and spinmeister comes to Edmonton bearing a big bag of cash, it’s hard to see what he brings to the table.

Whether the downtown arena proceeds or not, this is a decision for Edmonton’s taxpayers and city council, not a New York lawyer paid to plump for club owners.

Even Katz should understand that.

Looking at 2011′s Also-Rans

Down Goes Brown with the the zingers:

New York Islanders
Where it all went wrong: The season got off to a rough start when the team revealed their plan to ice a roster consisting entirely of New York Islanders.
Reason for optimism: Team doctors are optimistic that injured star goaltender Rick DiPietro can recover in time to get hurt in next year’s season opener.
Future outlook: The team is on the right track and the future is bright, you think, if you want to keep your press pass.

Leave Toronto, Watch Production Drop?

Pension Plan Puppets with a look at departed Maple Leafs and a supposed drop in their production elsewhere. I suppose if you tinker with the methodology and take small enough sample sizes then you can prove anything. Even if a guy’s production takes a hit in a new city, his realistic playoff hopes go up… trade off?

Penguins Ink College Star

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed Boston College forward Brian Gibbons to a two-year entry level deal.

Justin Beiber, of the Carolina Hurricanes?