For those who lean more toward the defensive end of the Norris Trophy argument, a growing debate has emerged: should the award go to Boston Bruins behemoth Zdeno Chara or Nashville Predators stalwart Shea Weber? The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples gave Weber a slight edge in his study of the three candidates, placing Ottawa Senators offensive dynamo Erik Karlsson in third.
If a defenceman is doing his job defensively, he’s stopping opposing attackers by rubbing them out against the boards and taking the puck away. He covers his man in front of the net.
He denies passes to the slot. On two-on-ones, he denies the deadly pass across, while forcing a shot as far out of the slot as possible. He joins in the attack, but doesn’t make sloppy turnovers, nor does he make rash pinches in the neutral or attacking zones that lead to odd-man rushes.
By these measures, Weber did the best of the three finalists.
In a way, you can make an argument for all three candidates. Weber was one of the Predators’ leading offensive catalysts – not just with the “for a defenseman” qualifier – along with being a great asset in his own zone. Chara’s defensive prowess and slapper cannot be denied while one can easily argue that Karlsson’s offensive genius easily makes up for own-zone hiccups.
Weber may indeed be the best choice, but either way, Staples provides an interesting discussion of the trio, even gauging whether they were to blame for the goals that were scored when they were on the ice.
The Buffalo Sabres have recalled forward Justin Bailey from AHL Rochester.
It’s the first time Bailey, a second-round pick in 2013, has ever been called up to the NHL. The 20-year-old joins the big club after piling up 11 points (5G, 6A) in his last eight games for the Americans.
Most Sabres fans will know that Bailey is from Buffalo (technically, Williamsville), the son of former Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey. (To learn more, click on this Buffalo News story from July.)
The Sabres play Thursday in Philadelphia, where Bailey will reportedly make his NHL debut.
To make room for Bailey on Buffalo’s roster, Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.
Thing have gone from bad to weird in Minnesota, where embattled Wild coach Mike Yeo was “disappointed” to see Zenon Konopka’s rabbit holding a sign that read, “YEO MUST GO.”
Hey, we told you things had gotten weird.
Konopka, a former Wild player, took to Twitter last night after Minnesota’s latest loss.
Here’s what Konopka tweeted:
And what did Yeo think about that?
“I really don’t care what he says,” he told the Star Tribune, apparently adding with a laugh, “I will say I was very disappointed to see Hoppy holding that sign.”
Now, according to the newspaper’s Michael Russo, “Konopka and Yeo had a lot of issues behind the scenes and that’s why [Konopka] ended up on waivers two Januarys ago.”
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of Wild fans agree with Hoppy, er, Konopka, and it doesn’t change the fact that the Wild could really, really use a win tomorrow at home to Washington.
Nice work from Artem Anisimov and Matt Niskanen this week, but Connor McDavid‘s tally is on a different level.
You can pretty much bank on McDavid being in Goals of the Year, too. Just saying.
Laurent Brossoit is getting another crack at the NHL.
On Wednesday, the Oilers announced they demoted Anders Nilsson — who, earlier this year, was carrying the starting gig in Edmonton — and recalled Brossoit from AHL Bakersfield.
Brossoit, 22, is an interesting story. Taken in the sixth round of the 2011 draft (164th overall), he’s really made strides over the last year. He made his big-league debut at the end of last season and performed extremely well, making 49 saves on 51 shots in a loss to San Jose.
This year, Brossoit was named an AHL All-Star. He’s posted a 14-8-3 record for the Condors thus far, with a 2.70 GAA and .921 save percentage.
As for Nilsson, his demotion comes after losing the starting gig to Cam Talbot. Nilsson has also struggled to find the good form shown in November, when he made 10 starts and posted a .915 save percentage.
In his last outing, the lanky Swede allowed three goals on 10 shots in an embarrassing 8-1 loss to the Isles.