Rick Nash reaches milestone fittingly: in a humiliating loss

1 Comment

There’s only so many ways we can skin the “Seriously, when are Scott Howson and Scott Arniel going to get fired?” cat. (Seriously, though, what’s it going to take … a horrifying scandal?)

Thankfully, the Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-3 mashing of the Columbus Blue Jackets provided another story: Rick Nash scored his 500th point when he earned a primary assist on Mark Letestu’s third period goal. If you ask me, this milestone is really a microcosm of Nash’s NHL career: great individual numbers obscured by team failures.

Then again, another stat seems just as fitting: Nash had a -3 rating in tonight’s game. That tough night pushes his 2011-12 total to -9.

I generally dislike plus/minus, but it tells Nash’s story in many ways: the team around him is falling apart, whether he’s scoring near a point-per-game rate or not. Gauging how much of it might be his fault – Nash is the big money captain, after all – is anyone’s guess.

It’s tough to feel bad for a guy scheduled to make $7.8 million per season through 2017-18, but his reaction to what looks like another dispiriting season might be the biggest concern in all of this (especially if the Blue Jackets embrace reality and cut ties with Steve Mason).

Let me paraphrase an old saying: “You can’t fire the team, so you fire the coach/GM.” That is an important thing to remember here; it’s easy and logical to say that Arniel and Howson need to go, but what then? What about Nash and the guys you want to keep around?

At some point, Nash will be able to beam with pride over amassing so many points. My guess is he’s pretty far from that now.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

Getty
Leave a comment

Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

Getty
Leave a comment

The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.

MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

Getty
16 Comments

It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.

Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

Leave a comment

Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.