Nicklas Lidstrom: Still the one

lidstrom.jpgThe reports of Nicklas Lidstrom’s hockey death are completely false.

Look, it’s natural to wonder. After all, the Red Wings are no longer soul crushingly better than everyone else and, yes, he is almost 40 years old now. And, sure, his 43 points this season indicate that his days of scoring at a near-elite forward level may be ending.

So I guess Lidstrom will just have to settle for being the league’s best shutdown defenseman and, according to the elite number crunchers at On the Forecheck, the league’s second most valuable player.* Here’s what Dirk Hoag had to say about a season that has been dominant, even if that dominance is a little more subtle.

Given all the issues Detroit has had to struggle through this season, the Red Wings have had to rely on Lidstrom perhaps more than they ever have. His penalty killing work is particularly telling. When he’s on the ice, the Red Wings give up 3.45 goals per 60 minutes, a rate that is better than the top overall PK teams in the league. When he’s on the bench, the Wings give up 8.36 goals per 60 minutes, which would rank among the worst.

With Zdeno Chara stock falling like a, well, Chara-sized tree (John Buccigross referred to Chara as “Hal Gill slow” … ouch), I can’t help but ask if Lidstrom is deserving of yet another Norris trophy.

He’ll have plenty of competition this year. For voters with an eye for points, Mike Green is still putting up ludicrous numbers (70 points already). Duncan Keith has nearly as many (63), a generally better defensive reputation than Green and the Chicago goodwill to boot. Drew Doughty is a dark horse candidate, while Chris Pronger has quietly put together another great season of grit and offense. All of these players have more points than Lidstrom (again, often an unfairly huge factor for some of the less … prudent voters).

So the unparalleled hockey genius probably won’t win the Norris this year. The question is, though: should he?

* – A few other quick notes from Dirk’s list: you can put away your “Chris Pronger has morphed into a pylon” jokes, as he’s still one of the league’s most dominant players. It’s far more surprising, though, to see once-reviled players like Nik Antropov and Dustin Penner getting such high stat-based praise.)

Scroll Down For:

    Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

    Carey Price
    Leave a comment

    There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

    ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

    So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

    Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

    (But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

    Lightning lament life as a .500 team

    Leave a comment

    The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

    After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

    Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

    Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

    As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

    The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

    Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

    They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

    The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

    Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

    Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


    Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

    That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

    Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

    “Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

    In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

    One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

    Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

    Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

    Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


    Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

    OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

    Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

    For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

    You can watch all three goals in the video above.

    It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.