Ilya Bryzgalov

In defense of Bryzgalov (sort of)

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As a statistic to judge the performance of goalies, save percentage has its issues.

Among the things one can say in retort to a poor save percentage:

—Yeah, but the defense isn’t very good. Odd-man rushes. Blown coverages. Not clearing rebounds. Every second shot seems to be a prime scoring opportunity.

—Yeah, but the team is shorthanded all the time. Power-play shots are typically better in quality, which is why a goalie’s save percentage is usually lower when shorthanded.

Both of the above have been said about the Philadelphia Flyers, and both should be taken into account when judging their embattled goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov.

Take this goal from Saturday’s 4-1 loss in Winnipeg:

If you’re picking out one player to blame on that shift, it’s Flyers defenseman Oliver Lauridsen, who allowed Mike Santorelli a free pass to the front of the net.

Granted, every team has breakdowns in defense. And if you went through all the goals Bryzgalov allowed this season, you’d find a bunch that he should’ve stopped.

Bryzgalov’s save percentage is .896, among the lowest in the NHL.

Whether the Flyers buy him out this summer could, of course, come down to more than just his play on the ice. The 32-year-old has a unique personality that’s great for the media, but may not be so good for the team. (Not being in the room, it’s hard to say if this is a real concern or just makes for a good story.)

I’m not about to go through all the goals Bryzgalov has allowed with the Flyers and determine how many he should’ve stopped. It would take a long time.

But if I’m general manager Paul Holmgren, I’d want to know exactly how a goalie that was lights out in Phoenix two years ago has been anything but in Philadelphia. Is it all on Bryzgalov? Because if it’s not, all you’re doing is setting up the next guy — maybe it’s Phoenix goalie Mike Smith! — to fail.

Related: Bryzgalov says he doesn’t care if the Flyers buy him out

Report: Ducks interested in Travis Green for vacant head coaching job

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Travis Green seems to be gaining increased attention for available head coaching jobs in the NHL, and the Anaheim Ducks, who fired Bruce Boudreau after a first-round playoff loss, are reportedly interested.

That’s according to a report from Elliotte Friedman during Thursday’s broadcast of Game 4 between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars.

Green helped guide the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, to an appearance in the Calder Cup final a year ago. The Comets were, however, eliminated in the opening round of the post-season this year.

“I think I’m ready,” Green, who has spent the last three seasons in Utica, said recently. “Every job in the NHL is worth its weight in gold, and I would have 100 per cent interest at options with every team in the league. You hope all your qualities are enticing for one of them.”

Related: With four vacancies, the NHL  coaching carousel is ‘spinning out of control’ 

Video: The Stars had six skaters on the ice and still didn’t cover Tarasenko on breakaway goal

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Vladimir Tarasenko can be elusive to the opposition at five-on-five. Apparently that also applies to when the opposition has six skaters on the ice and their goalie still in the crease.

Tarasenko opened the scoring for the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 on Thursday, sneaking in behind the Stars defense for a breakaway goal on Kari Lehtonen. The Stars, by the way, had six skaters on the ice as the puck was turned over in the St. Louis zone.

Despite Dallas clearly having too many skaters, the play wasn’t blown down and Tarasenko found himself in the one-on-one situation. He made no mistake.

(Here’s a screen grab of the turnover inside the St. Louis end, leading to the breakaway. Six Dallas skaters.)

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 5.50.07 PM

 

WATCH LIVE: Sharks at Predators – Game 4

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber (6) and center Colin Wilson, right, celebrate after Weber scored a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal playoff series Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. San Jose Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau is at left. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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The Nashville Predators have a chance before the home crowd to even up their second-round series with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. You can catch Game 4 between these teams on CNBC (9 p.m. ET) or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for this game:

Ribeiro likely scratched, again, as Preds look to even series with Sharks

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

 

 

Gerard Gallant, Lindy Ruff and Barry Trotz named finalists for Jack Adams Award

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The list of finalists for the Jack Adams Award has been released. Gerard Gallant (Florida Panthers), Lindy Ruff (Dallas Stars) and Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) are the three nominees for the award, which goes to the head coach that “contributed the most to his team’s success.”

The winners will be announced June 22 during the 2016 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Gallant was behind the bench for a Panthers team that included an interesting blend of youth (Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov) and experience (Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo), locked into a franchise-record 12-game winning streak and took the Atlantic Division with a 47-26-9 record — another new standard for the franchise. The Panthers’ season ended with an opening-round playoff loss to the New York Islanders.

After missing the playoffs last season, Ruff coached the Stars to top spot in the Western Conference standings with a 50-23-9 record and a team that includes top-end talent from the likes of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and John Klingberg, playing a game of speed and skill. The Stars led the league in goals for (265) and goals-for per game (3.23).

Trotz, in his second season in Washington, helped the Capitals to a Presidents’ Trophy for the 2015-16 regular season, besting the second-best team, the Stars, by 11 points. The Capitals finished the season with a record of 56-18-8, setting them up as Stanley Cup contenders when the playoffs began last month. Armed with 50-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals also finished second in the league in goals for (248).

This is Gallant’s first nomination for the award. Ruff and Trotz are each three-time award finalists, with Ruff winning in 2006, as per NHL.com.

Last season’s winner, Bob Hartley, was fired by the Calgary Flames earlier this week. He’s not the first Jack Adams Award winner to be dismissed from his job the following year.