Joakim Lindstrom Getty

PHT’s Three Duds of the Week: Just hit someone already

Every Monday, we’ll highlight (lowlight?) three of the NHL’s biggest duds from the past week.

Going to dud it up a little differently this week by examining the highly-controversial (yet always fun) hit statistic. Obviously a lack of hits doesn’t always equal a dud…but sometimes it does!

Anyway, here’s a look at a variety of players with remarkably low hit totals and our corresponding categorization.

The one-hit wonder

That would be Colorado’s Joakim Lindstrom, who played in 16 games this year and recorded just a single hit. The lack of physicality wasn’t due to a lack of opportunity — in his last game with the Avs, Lindstrom played a season-high 17:32 — so I’m guessing laying the body just wasn’t his thing.

Know what else wasn’t his thing? Being in the NHL. On Nov. 29, Lindstrom was placed on waivers and returned to Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Elite League.

Possibly allergic

That would be Minnesota center Pierre-Marc Bouchard who, through 37 games this year, has recorded three hits. It’s not surprising that Bouchard strays away from contact given his injury history — he missed almost all of 2009-10 with a concussion — but this is a down year even by his standards. Comparatively speaking, Bouchard was a wrecking ball last season with 15 hits in 59 games and in 2008-09, when he laid the body 30 times in 72 contests.

Too old for this hitting nonsense

Jaromir Jagr, 39, has four hits in 34 games.

Brendan Morrison, 36, has five hits in 26 games.

Richard Park, 35, has five hits in 23 games.

Petr Sykora, 35, has seven hits in 41 games.

The category where Flyers fans get to pile on

Jeff Carter has four hits in 30 games for the Blue Jackets this season.

Here on purpose

Another Avalanche player! This time it’s rookie defenseman Stefan Elliott who, through 21 games this year, has recorded two hits.

PHT Note: Someone should have a word with Colorado’s scorekeeper.

It should be noted Elliott’s lack of contact isn’t for a lack of cojones, according to Saskatoon Blades GM Lorne Molleken (Elliott starred with the WHL club from 2007-2011):

“The thing with Stefan is he’s such an intelligent player,” Molleken told the Star-Phoenix. “He’s not a physical player but on the defensive side of things but he uses his stick as well as anyone I’ve seen at any level. His body position is as good as anyone I’ve seen at any level.”

Elliott did win the WHL’s Top Defenseman in 2010-11 and has looked great for Colorado, so he gets a pass.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

Stanley Cup
Leave a comment

There’s nothing better than a Game 7, especially when a spot in the Stanley Cup Final is up for grabs. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins will battle in a do-or-die game for the right to play the San Jose Sharks with Lord Stanley on the line. You can watch the game via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET)

The television broadcast of Game 7 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the Live Extra app, click here.

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for this one:

Penguins, Lightning prepare for ‘roller coaster’ Game 7

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

Video: Brouwer was big for Blues

Leave a comment

Troy Brouwer made quite an impression in his first year with the St. Louis Blues. After being acquired from the Capitals for T.J. Oshie, the 30-year-old scored 18 goals and 39 points in 82 games during the 2015-16 season. His eight goals and 13 points during the playoffs weren’t too shabby either.

Brouwer took on more of a signficant role in the postseason. His points-per-game increased, his ice time increased and he was more productive on the man-advantage (3 goals in 20 games). While the Blues were fighting for their playoff lives in Games 4 and 5 of the Western Conference Final, Brouwer contributed three goals.

Now, the Blues will have to find a way to keep him around. His playoff success likely means that he’ll be expecting a substantial raise between now and the end of the league year on July 1st. Brouwer is set to become an unrestricted free agent on that day.

Brouwer came with a cap hit of $3.66 million and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that number climb higher, especially if he hits the open market.

The Blues also need to work out deals with other pending free agents like captain David Backes and Jaden Schwartz (RFA). There isn’t a ton of money left under the cap in St. Louis, which means that GM Doug Armstrong will have to get creative this summer.

One of the things Armstrong and head coach Ken Hitchcock liked about Brouwer was the way he seemed to fit in right away.

“He was on the team for a month,” Hitchcock explained earlier this week, per the Vancouver Sun. “I think my meetings were a little bit too long.  He told me it would be best if I kept them a little briefer.  So I knew he had a bite on the team right away. It didn’t take him long to get comfortable with us, which is great.”  

How much will comfort count for in the off-season negotiations between club and player? We’ll find out soon enough.

PHT Morning Skate: Jim Craig doesn’t regret selling ‘Miracle on Ice’ memorabilia

1 Comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

–These parents named their baby girl after Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. (ABC News)

–The  hockey card that helped inspire a Tragically Hip song. (Puck Junk)

–The fan who promised to get a tattoo of Gary Bettman if LA and Chicago were eliminated in the first round kept his word. (Bardown)

–Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Sharks and Blues. (Top)

–Jim Craig doesn’t regret auctioning off most of his “Miracle on Ice” memorabilia. (Yahoo)

–A Q & A with former Quebec Nordiques forward Peter Stastny. (ESPN)

–Former Flyers coach Craig Berube breaks down Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. (NHL)

Hitch: ‘I see the devastation in our locker room’

7 Comments

Despite a late comeback attempt, the 2015-16 season came to an end for the St. Louis Blues, as they lost the Western Conference Final in six games to the San Jose Sharks.

And with Wednesday’s loss, the off-season will settle upon the Blues. It will be an intriguing one in St. Louis, starting with their head coach Ken Hitchcock. He’s on a one-year deal and he has already outlined that he’s fine with taking short-term contracts. But is an appearance in the conference final enough to solidify his place behind the St. Louis bench for next year?

The Blues have, according to General Fanager, five pending unrestricted free agent forwards, including Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak, Steve Ott, and most notably Troy Brouwer and David Backes.

Backes, 32, is the team’s captain and coming off a 21-goal, 45-point regular season, which is a decline from the numbers — 26 goals and 58 points — he posted the year before. Brouwer, 30, enjoyed the best post-season of his career, with eight goals and 13 points in 20 games, and he could potentially cash in on that this summer.

However, while there are questions ahead for the Blues, the emotional toll this loss took was clear.

“I see the devastation in our locker room right now. Guys aren’t even able to speak. I’m more worried about our guys right now, to be honest with you. We got some guys that are pretty shook up right now,” said Hitchcock to reporters.

“I’m not going to talk to them for a day or two. They need their space with each other. They’ve bonded together here better than any team I’ve coached in the last 10 years. They need their time together. They don’t need me interrupting them right now. We’ll talk at an appropriate time. But right now they need to be with each other.”