Hey, have you heard about Corey Crawford’s glove hand?
I hear it stinks. Repulsive. Benefits the Bruins shooters.
Come to think of it, Crawford himself is an atrocious goaltender. Probably the worst to play in a Stanley Cup Final since Roberto Luongo. Did you watch Game 4? Bruce Garrioch did. Obviously he showed off to Steve Yzerman and the Team Canada brass that he doesn’t have what it takes to play under pressure, and it all starts with that glove hand.
NBC got the memo, of course. Check out the graphic they put together during Game 5. Zdeno Chara’s goal in the fifth game of the series? Yet ANOTHER glove side goal. Can’t put anything past NBC, who flashed the graphic, and will presumably update it for Game 6. That’s NINE glove side goals allowed in this series. Can you believe it?
Actually… Read the rest of this entry »
Back in the summer of 2011, it was pretty difficult to find anybody that would suggest Jonathan Toews was anything but a clutch performer. He was a year removed from a Conn Smythe Trophy and had scored a late shorthanded goal to send Game 7 of the first round series to overtime. Chicago was an 8-seed.
Also in the summer of 2011, there were people who were thrilled that their pre-season prediction had come true. The Miami Heat weren’t a championship team. LeBron James isn’t clutch, you can’t assemble groups of superstars and have them win blah blah blah blah. We’re approaching July in 2013, hockey is still going on for some reason, Jonathan Toews has one goal in his last zillion games and LeChoke and the Heat have repeat as NBA champions.
It’s unreasonable to think that there aren’t players that step their games up in key situations. It is unreasonable to think that we have any way of measuring the difference. There’s such a marginal gap between the quality of players and teams at the highest level of sport that you’d need literally hundreds of games to be able to tell a good player from a not as good player. We have six seasons worth of play-by-play data for individual players and there’s still a lot we don’t know about shooting talent, how players age, and how to effectively measure defence. Read the rest of this entry »
The headline’s a bit dramatic, if only because who the hell knows what happens going forward with injuries and the potential for terrifyingly bad luck, but if everything stays the same as it currently sits, I feel like the Stanley Cup is waiting to be dropped from it’s dunk tank-like perch into Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks’ hands…if he can just throw a couple strikes at the target.
Last night was huge for Chicago. If Boston scores the OT winner they head back to the Windy City with three cracks to beat Chicago once. The Blackhawks would be in full second-guessing themselves mode, having blown multiple leads and having given up six. Quenneville might tinker with the lines, or the lineup as a whole. Crawford is strung up from a sturdy branch. Ray Emery starts answering more questions. The whole thing starts to unravel, because that’s how the reactionary world of sports works.
But winning heals everything, and in the process, the Blackhawks had a barrel full of back-monkeys jump off, which will entirely free their stars up mentally to play the game as they can again. Jonathan Toews starred as The Beast in the Crease and scored for the first time since May, a span of 10 games dating back to the Red Wings’ series. Patrick Kane scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Final. Patrick Sharp got his second of the Final. Hell, they even scored a powerplay goal.
And further, Marian Hossa made it all the way through the game and now doesn’t have to play again until Saturday, which means he gets an extra day to heal up, and will definitely play in Game 5. Those of you who’ve played through injuries know just how valuable that extra day can be – where the one day off in between contests means you wake up going “Ughhh f*************k, everything hurts,” there’s the potential to feel human with the bonus day in there.
Now they’ve got two of three games in the Madhouse on Madison. Everything would be peachy and perfect if it weren’t for this one large, scary elephant hiding behind the dresser:
The hell is up with all those low-glove goals on Corey Crawford? Is this a thing? Is shooting there like using The Cheat Move in NHL ’94? Read the rest of this entry »
Hey, dawg, I know how you feel.
There are a lot of match-ups you could have looked at headed into the Stanley Cup Final and said to yourself that Boston or Chicago had the edge.
Top-six forwards: Chicago. Forward depth: Boston. D corps: Chicago. Goaltending: Boston. And so on. The thing with these teams was that their strengths and weaknesses seemed to fit together like a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. There wasn’t a lot of wiggle room, and for every measure one side boasted, the other seemed to offer a strong enough countermeasure that more or less neutralized it, at least in theory.
One thing that was less-often discussed was how important a role the two coaches would play in this series, which was so often framed as being something like the immovable object meeting the irresistible force. But the reason Boston is up two games to one right now, and holding serve with Game 4 tonight, is because Claude Julien has managed his bench perfectly, and Joel Quenneville has very much not. Read the rest of this entry »
When the puck dropped on Game 3 in Boston last night, Chicago’s captain and the NHL’s 2013 Selke Award winner Jonathan Toews took the draw for the road Blackhawks. He’s the same dude who tallied 48 points in 47 regular season games, including 23 goals. The same guy who earned Hart Trophy votes. The same guy who won nearly 60% of his regular season draws, second best in the league. The same guy who…is centering Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik? Are you f*****g kidding me?
Last night I tweeted about it without putting much thought into it, and missed the point entirely. I added some brackey-y stuff for clarity, but the tweet read: ”(Is) Toews being demoted, (is Quenneville) trying get B’s to drop matchup on his line, or (are they just) outta options sans Hossa? Kruger-Frolik? Yikes.”
Anyway, it’s pretty clear in hindsight that the idea was to trade Toews’ minutes as a wash versus Chara’s (anything gained is a bonus), and leave the rest of the talent to try to beat the Bruins.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. This is a terrible strategy, if in fact it was his strategy as many people have speculated. Read the rest of this entry »
This is probably the first time that Jaromir Jagr has made it to 20 games without a goal. Without going through and sorting through 19 seasons—17 of which are 25-goal seasons—of a career that produced 681 goals and appeared in the top 10 goal scorers eight times, I’m quite sure Jagr has never gone 20 goal-less in a row.
What is amazing to me is that Jagr never won a Rocket Richard Trophy. In 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2006 he finished second, and he’s first among all active players in goals (six ahead of Teemu Selanne, though Jagr also has 78 playoff goals and Selanne has only 42). Amazingly, he did all this despite losing two-and-a-half seasons to a lockout and had three seasons with Avangard of the KHL.
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Only the toughest matchups for PK Subban. (Getty)
I’m not entirely sure what the future holds for Dave Nonis and the Toronto Maple Leafs. If I were to wager a guess, Nonis lasts for a few years at the helm of one of the NHL’s flagship organizations, gets another couple of playoff appearances, perhaps a coaching change or two, and ultimately doesn’t win the Stanley Cup.
That’s not to say that I think Nonis is inherently flawed or that the Maple Leafs are cursed, but it’s just unlikely for any team to win the Stanley Cup. You need a great team and great luck, or everything else falls apart.
So far, the Nonis era has unfolded in Toronto rather unspectacularly. If you can say anything about the Toronto Maple Leafs, it’s that they’re a hockey team, built as one might expect any standard hockey team to be built. The first line has skilled players. The second line has slightly less skilled players. The third line is players the coach doesn’t like. There are fighters on the fourth line.
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