The Chicago Blackhawks raised a lot of eyebrows (and the blood pressure of many people in Vancouver) with their 5-0 win against the Canucks in Game 5. People aren’t buzzing about Chicago’s two wins as much as they are shocked by just how dominant those two games have been. It’s the kind of turnaround/collapse that underscores how fragile athletes can be.
So the question is: can they repeat the 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers’ magic act against the Boston Bruins by coming back from a 3-0 series deficit? Let’s take a look.
History stands against Chicago.
Realists would point out that the odds are still against the Blackhawks considering the fact that only three teams in NHL history have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit. (Whowins.com points out that teams up 3-0 are 159-3 all-time, although I think that the Detroit Red Wings became No. 160 last night.) On the other hand, optimists will point out that the Blackhawks merely need to match what the 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers did against the Boston Bruins in last year’s playoffs.
Ultimately, the Blackhawks can look at the 3-2 odds alone, though. Teams up 3-2 are 250-64 all-time, which means Chicago has improved their odds of winning this series from about two percent to about 20.
If you’re getting bored with obtuse numbers, I have a more fun exercise for you: let’s compare this Chicago-Vancouver series to that 2010 Philadelphia-Boston series.
How the two series are similar
- In both series, the Blackhawks and Flyers fell behind 3-0 despite some close games. The Canucks earned two one-goal wins and one two-goal victory; the Bruins dominated Game 3 4-1 but needed an overtime win and another one-goal win to take a deceptively large lead. This is my long way of saying that the series were much closer than their 3-0 margins.
- A major injury might be the turning point. In the Flyers-Bruins series, Brian Boucher’s injury allowed Michael Leighton to step back in and save the day. Brent Seabrook missed the last two games because of the Raffi Torres hit, but that injury might be part of the reason Duncan Keith is on fire.
- Survival instincts: Both the Flyers and Blackhawks were fighting up until the last day of their respective regular seasons, making them quite familiar with must-win situations. (Sure, Chicago lost their last game, but they won plenty during the stretch drive.)
How they are different.
- History: The Bruins and Flyers didn’t really have short-term baggage in their series, while the Canucks and Blackhawks have met three years in a row. Of course, this point actually works in Chicago’s favor, though.
- Disparity: Despite their recent showings, the 2011 Canucks are (in my opinion) a much better team than the 2010 Bruins. They’re shaken up at the moment, but I still think that Vancouver is the team to beat.
- Depth: The Flyers had a deep pool of offensive options while the Blackhawks must rely on a small handful of scorers. If Chicago’s going to keep it going, they’ll probably need their best players to keep carrying them along the way.
- Canucks under pressure: Any team with a 3-0 lead is under the gun, but Vancouver is the Presidents’ Trophy team trying to win its first-ever Cup in its 40th season. They’re trying to shake a considerable monkey off their backs. Yup, that’s a ton of pressure, something that plays into Chicago’s hands.
So what’s the takeaway from all this? The Blackhawks certainly have a chance to do this. History is against them, but psychology might be on their side considering all of Vancouver’s baggage. If they win Game 6, then the Canucks would have the weight of the world on their shoulders in Game 7.
Does that mean that it’ll happen? I’d still bet against it, but who even saw these last two games coming?
While Brayden Schenn hopes to hammer out a favorable deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, his brother Luke Schenn inked a two-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Arizona didn’t confirm these details, but the cap hit looks to be $1.25 million, according to reporters including Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“We are very pleased to sign Luke to a two-year contract,” New Coyotes GM John Chayka said. “He’s a good, young defenseman and we feel we can optimize his performance here. He will be a solid addition to our blue line.”
Chayka is making some significant changes to the Coyotes’ blueline, even if Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still the star of that group.
The Coyotes traded for and then signed Alex Goligoski. They possibly grabbed a falling star in the draft, too, as they selected Jacob Chychrun. Adding Schenn might not be the last move, either.
Schenn isn’t necessarily an analytics darling, but a two-year, $2.5 million deal is reasonable even with some flaws. This contract seems even more reasonable when you consider the five-year, $18 million deal that just expired.
Peter Holland‘s submitted salary request for arbitration is reportedly more than double what the Toronto Maple Leafs proposed.
With that in mind, Monday’s pending hearing serves as a challenging deadline.
Holland’s asking for $2.1 million in 2016-17 while Toronto is offering $900K, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
This comes a day after the Maple Leafs placed Holland on waivers, advancing the argument that he’d be worthy of a two-way deal. He cleared waivers today.
Granted, the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle wonders if Holland would clear waivers under normal circumstances:
Holland is a solid player, generating 27 points in 65 games with Toronto last season. He’s a nice enough piece, but with the Maple Leafs in rebuild mode, they’re not exactly anxious to pay supporting cast members more than necessary.
With such a context in mind, it should be intriguing to see how much either side will budge.
At the moment, the Maple Leafs seem to hold the advantage.
It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have some work to do if they hope to avoid an arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn.
The session would take place on Monday, so the clock is ticking.
While the differences in opinion aren’t outright enormous, the Flyers still need to clean up their cap situation, so every $1 million counts. That – plus the length of a deal – seem to be the issue for the 24-year-old forward and the Flyers, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:
With the Flyers aiming for a two-year agreement while Schenn just wants one, it’s not quite as simple as merely saying “split the difference.”
Then again, that general logic could prove helpful. Perhaps the best path to a deal would be for the Flyers to edge closer to $5.5 million while convincing Schenn to sign for two years rather than one?
Of course, the Flyers could also offer Schenn more security in exchange for giving up some UFA years:
The physical forward really started to show why he was the fifth pick of the 2009 NHL Draft last season, setting career-highs in goals (26), assists (33) and points (59).
He’s coming off of a two-year, $5 million contract, so Schenn can take heart in realizing he’s heading toward a healthy raise even if he doesn’t get everything he’s asking for.
Jordan Schroeder might be a depth player for the Minnesota Wild – at least when he’s with the big club – yet his situation provided a decent dollop of drama.
The two sides avoided salary arbitration by settling on a deal on Saturday, but not before the Wild “sent a message” by putting him on waivers.
That message was received, as Schroeder’s one-year contract is a two-way deal.
CBC’s Tim Wharnsby has the details regarding how the salary works out:
Schroeder has 107 regular season games under his belt, yet he’s played more games with the Iowa Wild than the Minnesota Wild since joining the organization.
He might not like it, but a two-way deal makes sense considering his standing with the team.
Granted, there’s the outside chance he’ll flourish under Bruce Boudreau; Schroeder is still just 25 and was the 22nd pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.
If he unexpectedly blossoms, he’d have a lot more leverage next time around.