Last week, I put up a poll asking PHT readers which defenseman is the NHL’s best at creating offense. As you can see from the poll results (click the thumbnail image to enlarge it), Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green won in a landslide.
In fact, if you added the other choices together, they’d only have 11 more votes than Green (20 more if you count write-in candidates). That’s pretty amazing, but it shouldn’t be surprising either; Green is clearly a unique scoring talent. In his three years in the league, he already scored an impressive 56, 73 and now 71 points. Who knows what Green’s ceiling could be on such an offensively diverse team as the Capitals?
Let’s take a quick look at how Green’s first three years compare to the beginnings of some of the league’s best point producing defensemen. Again, his first three seasons featured 56, 73 and currently 71 points. (All stats taken from hockeydb.com.)
Paul Coffey (1980-81 to 82-83 seasons): 32 points, 89 and 96.
Bobby Orr (shortened seasons 66-67 through 68-69): 41, 31, 64 … of course he then hit 100+ points three times following those years.
Ray Bourque (79-80 to 81-82): 65, 56, 66
Nicklas Lidstrom: (91-92 to 93-94): 60, 41, 56
Phil Housley: (82-83 to 84-85): 66, 77, 69
Denis Potvin: (73-74 to 75-76): 54, 76, 98
Brian Leetch: (starting with his first reasonably full season from 88-89 to 90-91): 71, 56, 88
Obviously, Team Canada did just fine without Green, but I felt like he deserved to be on the team. His defensive flaws are – in my opinion – a bit overblown. Sure, I wouldn’t call him a shutdown defender (and he may never become one), but you cannot deny the firepower he brings to the ice.
It will be interesting to see if Green can burst through to the rarefied air of 90 and 100 point seasons. Then again, the league obviously has changed quite a bit since the days of Housley and Coffey. Either way, Green’s career start compares favorably to many of the league’s all-time best point producers from the blue line and it should be intriguing to see if the general hockey public will warm-up to the faux-hawk’d player as time goes on.
Do you think Green could one day be shoulder-to-shoulder with the Coffey’s of the world? Is his offensive production worth the inherent risks he takes?
If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.
The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.
Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?
Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.
” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.
That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.
Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?
The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.
The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.
The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.
Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.
With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.
Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.
You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.
Could one of the most hapless possession teams of this more analytics-leaning era nab arguably the most promising analytics-leaning executive in the NHL?
It’s a reasonable question, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Colorado Avalanche asked for and received permission to speak to Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.
Current GM Joe Sakic recently got a vote of confidence and also cleaned out some of the coaching staff around Jared Bednar, so this is certainly a time of change for the Avalanche.
It will be interesting to see what kind of role Dubas would receive if he did join the fold in Colorado. Would he still be considered an assistant GM, only with more sway with what would likely be a smaller group of decision-makers? Could we see Sakic move up and give Dubas the full GM title (or eventually transition that role to the young upstart)? Might there be some other factor that would qualify as a more “outside the box” idea?
One thing seems clear: the Avalanche might want to be decisive, as demand could be significant for Dubas if he’s even somewhat on the market.
This could be interesting, especially if you’re a nerd for team-building storylines.
The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.
They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.
Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.
Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.
Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6
Update: Mike Hoffman‘s booming shot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead in the third. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can tie it up.