I’m often quite amused by the way people arbitrarily use percentages in sports. While it’s useful to throw out some vague percentage as a way of relating other vague descriptions (“almost better” or “halfway there” come to mind), they still make me giggle quite a bit.
So take what you will from this Philly.com article that focuses on how Chris Pronger isn’t quite 100 percent as he recovers from off-season knee surgery.
Pronger played in seven games for Philadelphia so far, with only two assists to show for his efforts. The most glaring stat, though, is that Pronger is averaging a normal defenseman workload rather than his near-half game of work (21:21 minutes per game instead of about 26 minutes like last year).
Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy ranks among the people who notices the difference.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, if you miss training camp, it’s tough to just step right into a season,” McCarthy said. “He hasn’t been able to train the way he’s used to training. You take those two equations, and with any hockey player, it’s going to be tough to play the way that you want.”
Pronger averaged 21:36 in ice time through his first seven games, down about 5 1/2 minutes from his career average of 27 minutes per game. And it’s not because the Flyers are trying to save him for the postseason or he wants to work 18 percent less.
“It’s tough when you’re an elite player like Prongs and you expect so much out of yourself,” McCarthy said. “He can still be an effective player for us. But at the same time, he’s been around long enough to know that a Chris Pronger at 80 percent is better than most players at 100 percent.”
Yes, but what if those players are giving 110 percent?
Well, that was quite a third period.
For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.
Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.
The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.
Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.
And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.
Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)
The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.
Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.
The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.
The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.
As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.
On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.
From CSN Mid-Atlantic:
The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.
Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.
He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.
The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.
There was no call on the play.
Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.
Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.
Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.
That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus: