Every off-season has at least a handful of fork-in-the-road moments that lead you to ask “What if?”
The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater captures one of those scenarios for the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche’s netminding rotations. Jose Theodore admitted that he almost returned to Colorado to back up Semyon Varlamov before the team ultimately went with another former award-winning goalie in Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
That pivotal moment is working out surprisingly well for both sides.
Theodore has surprised as the Panthers’ No. 1 goalie, going 14-8-5 with a .918 save percentage and 2.48 GAA with two shutouts.
Giguere might be the backup in Colorado, but he’s shown plenty of glimpses of that old Conn Smythe Trophy-winning form. Jiggy is 11-6-1 with oustanding individual numbers: a .923 save percentage and 2.12 GAA with one shutout.
It’s fascinating to imagine how different both the goalies’ and teams’ situations would be like if Giguere didn’t sign that contract with Colorado. In a rare instance for these scenarios, it’s likely that all parties are glad it happened exactly the way it did.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.