It seems like there is a weird MVP voting quirk almost every year in nearly every sport. Sometimes those moments are amusing, such as a beat writer choosing a fringe player on the team he or she covers to make a “statement.” Rarely – but on occasion – there’s a tinge of something a little bit more sinister; one writer leaving Jarome Iginla off of his 2002 Hart Trophy list altogether the year Jose Theodore narrowly won it will always bother me.
The thing is, even if awards tend to be ceremonial and occasionally downright silly, they do affect people. Writers and hockey nuts will often bring up Norris Trophy victories to judge defensemen and so on. When you vote on something that’s fairly meaningful, I think that the public should know if you’re clearly falling victim to petty, biased thoughts.
This all leads up to an argument made my Joe Pelletier that I cannot agree with enough; the Hockey Hall of Fame should make their voting public. Doing so would allow the committee to be held accountable for its choices, which in the case of ailing former coach Pat Burns, could give the hockey public more of an idea of why these decisions were made. Pelletier brings up this point while discussing the holding pattern Dino Ciccarelli found himself before he finally made it into the Hall of Fame yesterday.
I do not disagree with Ciccarelli’s wait. He was very good for a long time. To me that does not equal greatness, even if he did score over 600 goals. I continue to have trouble with longevity vs. dominance.
But I think the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee took it upon themselves to punish him for some off-ice transgressions that the plagued his career far too long. They knew they couldn’t keep him out forever, not with those lofty goal totals, but they made sure he had to wait.
What is even worse than the committee’s almighty attitude is they never have to answer for their own actions. Voting results are not released. Some voting consistency is badly needed, and a line needs to be established. Transparency will provide that.
The Hall of Fame does not release voting results, saying that they don’t want to hurt or embarrass the players who do not make the cut. But this would make the Hall more accountable. Right now the rather anonymous Hall of Fame selection committee (admit it, you can’t name more than a couple of guys in that room) are hockey insiders. Voting guidelines are even vaguer. The Hall comes across as, at best, an old boys network or, at worst, holier than thou.
It seems doubtful that the HHOF would open up its process like that … mainly because they would see little benefit (and plenty of extra criticism). That doesn’t change the fact it would be the right thing to do, though.
The New York Rangers weren’t ecstatic that Chris Tierney‘s 4-4 goal sent their game to overtime against the San Jose Sharks, but either way, getting beyond regulation punched their ticket to the playoffs on Tuesday night.
For the seventh season in a row, the Rangers are in the NHL’s postseason. They fell to the Sharks 5-4 in overtime, so they haven’t locked down the first wild-card spot in the East … yet. It seems like a matter of time, however.
The Rangers have now made the playoffs in 11 of their last 12 tries, a far cry from the barren stretch where the Rangers failed to make the playoffs from 1997-98 through 2003-04 (with the lockout season punctuating the end of that incompetent era).
New York has pivoted from the John Tortorella days to the Vigneault era, and this season has been especially interesting as they reacted to a 2016 first-round loss to the Penguins by instituting a more attacking style. The Metropolitan Division’s greatness has overshadowed, to some extent, how dramatic the improvement has been.
This result seems like a tidy way to discuss Tuesday’s other events.
The drama ends up being low for the Rangers going forward, and while there might be a shortage of life-or-death playoff struggles, the battles for seeding look to be fierce.
There’s something beautiful about the symmetry on Tuesday … unless you’re a Detroit Red Wings fans, maybe.
On the same night that the longest active NHL playoff streak ended at 25 for Detroit, the longest playoff drought concluded when the Edmonton Oilers clinched a postseason spot by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.
The Oilers haven’t reached the playoffs since 2005-06, when Chris Pronger lifted them to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.
In doing so, other dominoes fell. Both the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also punched their tickets to the postseason.
The Sharks, of course, hope to exceed last season’s surprising run to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
Meanwhile, the Anaheim Ducks continue their run of strong postseasons, even as their Cup win fades to the background ever so slightly. All three teams are currently vying for the Pacific Division title.
The Western Conference’s eight teams are dangerously close to being locked into place, as the Nashville Predators, Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues are all close to looking down their spots as well.
Want the East perspective? Check out this summary of Tuesday’s events from the perspective of the other conference.
Members of the Ottawa Senators were quick to come to Craig Anderson‘s blunder (see above) in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s not just about his personal struggles, either. When Anderson’s managed to play, he’s been flat-out phenomenal, generating a .927 save percentage that ranks near a Vezina-type level (if he managed to play more than 35 games).
Goaltending has been a huge reason why Ottawa has at least a shot of winning the Atlantic or at least grabbing a round of home-ice advantage, so unlike certain instances where teams shield a goalie’s failures, the defenses are absolutely justified.
Anderson, on the other hand, was very hard on himself.
You have to admire Anderson for taking the blame, even if in very much “hockey player” fashion, he’s not exactly demanding the same sort of credit for his great work this season.
When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some said endings.
It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.
After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:
Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.
EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:
“Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.
Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here: