Every now and then, Pro Hockey Talk will ask for insight from some of the best team bloggers out there. For this feature, we asked a simple question: “Who is your team’s most frustrating player?” Just for fun, I also will provide my guess.
First, here is my guess for Boston.
Dennis Wideman – Wideman is the poster child for a contract year deception.
For the Beantown lowdown, I tabbed Evan from Stanley Cup of Chowder. Make sure to follow his great Bruins blog on Sports Blog Nation.
Most Bruins fans would probably say that Dennis Wideman or Michael Ryder are their biggest sources of frustration for their inconsistent play, but for me no player is more frustrating than Andrew Ference.
Ference is the classic “tweener”. He isn’t big enough to be a physical defenseman and he isn’t skilled enough to be a puck-mover or an offensive defenseman. Of course, that’s on the rare occasion that Ference is actually healthy and in the lineup. This past week pretty much summed up the essence of Andrew Ference. On Wednesday, Ference signed a 3-year extension with the Bruins worth $2.25 million a year. On Thursday, he was watching the game from the 9th floor at the TD Garden with a groin injury. Fragile Ference has missed at least 30 games a year over the course of his time with Boston. It’s as if they replaced his bones and cartilage with glass and Elmer’s Glue.
If collecting a decent-sized pay check for showing up to work 60% of the time isn’t enough reason to loathe Andrew Ference, he is one of these obnoxious do-gooders, who makes you feel bad about yourself for not traveling to third world countries in Africa to play soccer with underprivileged kids. Anybody who had to wait for the T a few years ago had to listen to a PSA from Ference that played every 5 minutes telling you to use public transportation to help save the planet. Hey buddy, I’m waiting for the train. I think I am aware of public transportation.
Then there was the way that he handled the Paul Kelly firing as the team’s NHLPA player’s representative. The key role of a player rep is represent your team. Ference reportedly never discussed the situation with his teammates and decided to step down as player rep shortly after. His handling (or more accurately, mishandling) of the Paul Kelly firing even drew some harsh criticism from Hall of Fame defenseman Brad Park. I refuse to believe that this situation didn’t create some level of friction in the Bruins room at a time when they desperately needed leaders to step up and bring this team together in the wake of several veterans leaving town.
I can’t wait for the day when Andrew Ference loads up his collection of porkpie hats and skinny ties into his hybrid Prius and drives out of town … too bad that will be at least 3 years from now.
People love star athletes because they can do amazing things. Even so, people also often love to see the occasional moment of weakness.
Aside from the occasional injury hiccup, Sidney Crosby‘s been as advertised after being a super-hyped No. 1 overall pick. He has that “Golden Goal,” two Olympic gold medals, a Stanley Cup ring and plenty of individual accolades.
Not many people expected the Capitals-Penguins series to be over in five games, but there’s a chance that could happen before the end of the week. After their 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Capitals are one loss away from being bounced from the 2016 playoffs.
The Capitals failed to take advantage of the fact that Kris Letang was suspended for Game 4 because of his hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3. Letang is now set to return for Game 5 which makes Washington’s task even more difficult.
“We didn’t take advantage of it,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, per NHL.com. “One thing I said to the guys coming into this, and we talked it about it yesterday, was when Kris got his suspension, is that they’re going to rally. Their whole team, their forwards are going to come back. They talked about they didn’t play their best game (in Game 3) and now they have Letang out and everybody had to step up on their side, and I thought they did.”
If you look back at the regular season, the Capitals were head and shoulders above the rest of the Eastern Conference and the league for a good portion of the season. Washington finished 11 points ahead of second place Dallas in the league standings and it looked like they had the team that would finally take them over the hump.
Although things look gloomy, it’s important to realize that the series is far from over. Many NHLers would tell you that the fourth win is always the hardest to come by in a best-of-seven series, and by no means is anyone expecting the Capitals to wave the white flag.
“Whenever you lose a game, it’s obviously an opportunity missed, but it had nothing to do with them missing some of their players,” said Caps forward Jay Beagle, per NHL.com. “We’re looking forward. Our back’s against the wall and the most important game of our lives is coming up.”
Game 5 goes Saturday night in Washington.
PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
Trevor Daley, traded to Blackhawks for Sharp & Johns and to #Pens for Scuderi (who was flipped to LA for Ehrhoff) played 28:41 in G4 W.