Over the last five years, the Selke conversation has largely been based around a handful of individuals: three-time winner Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews (one win each).
Now, Montreal head coach Michel Therrien says a new name warrants mention — Tomas Plekanec.
“He should be a serious candidate for sure,” Therrien said, per Sportsnet. “He does so may good things on the ice.”
Plekanec, 31, has successfully transitioned from an offense-first guy to a more well-rounded forward, one that Therrien considers to be his best two-way center. While his advanced possession statistics are hardly off the charts and both his takeaway and faceoff numbers are average at best, Plekanec has emerged as Montreal’s main shutdown guy, one that routinely draws the opposition’s top offensive players.
And he’s still managing to produce offensively, with 14 goals and 28 points through 46 games — which is a big reason why Therrien’s making the Selke push.
“When we ask [Plekanec] to play against the other teams’ top lines, he always does the job,” Therrien explained. “And he can contribute on offense too.”
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: