However you feel about plus/minus as a stat, it was hard to dismiss the fact that Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin hadn’t scored an even-strength goal (or point) since Feb. 27.
He changed that on Friday, scoring the only goal of the first period against the New Jersey Devils tonight:
That has to be a relief, as he ended a 16-game drought at even-strength.
To be fair, that tally seemed somewhat reminiscent of the type of goals he’s been scoring regularly on the power play. The Los Angeles Kings captured his love for shooting from that spot in late March:
Ovechkin might as well just set up camping equipment at the top of the circle.
St. Louis Blues veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester has been named to Canada’s 23-man roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
He will replace Chicago Blackhawks blue liner Duncan Keith, who is rehabbing a right knee injury.
“As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month’s World Cup of Hockey,” Blackhawks team physician, Dr. Michael Terry, said in a statement.
“We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury.”
I clarified with the Blackhawks that it is referring to the surgery Keith had to repair a torn meniscus in October.
Bouwmeester, a left-handed shot just as Keith is, which maintains the left-right philosophy for defensive pairings, joins his Blues teammate Alex Pietrangelo on the Canadian roster.
The two not only play together in St. Louis, but they were matched together on the blue line for Canada when it won gold at the 2014 Olympics.
The decision is, well, an interesting one and open to plenty of debate, as the Team Canada brass opted to take Bouwmeester over other Canadian blue liners — right-handed shots P.K. Subban and Kris Letang among the names — with far more offensive production from the back end.
Canada's defence could have had three 20-goal scorers on it if Giordano was named. Three. On defence. But no.
Aside from his reputation as an enforcer, the level of skill and ability of Patrick Bordeleau arose the attention of Devils player coach Andrew Lord who is delighted to add him to the roster.
“Patrick Bordeleau brings an awesome dynamic of size, energy and physical play. He skates well and will add a great presence to our forward unit while also playing quality minutes. He played multiple seasons in the NHL and his experience and character will be huge for our group.”
It’s a big honor for the talented defenseman, who joins the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger, Scott Stevens, Brian Sutter, Bernie Federko and Al Arbour as those that have captained the Blues.
Pietrangelo, 26, was taken fourth overall by St. Louis in 2008 and has spent his entire professional career within the organization.
A staple of the Team Canada blueline and a two-time NHL 2nd team All-Star, Pietrangelo inherits the captaincy from David Backes, who wore the “C” for five years before signing with Boston in free agency.
Pietrangelo had previously served as one of Backes’ alternates — first earning his “A” in 2013 — along with forward Alex Steen, who’s served as an alternate since 2011. It’s logical to assume Steen will retain his role in the leadership group, but it will be interesting to see who gets the other alternate captaincy.
Larkin, who bucked tradition by making the Red Wings as a 19-year-old last year, enjoyed a banner freshman campaign, scoring 45 points in 80 games to finish fifth in Calder voting.
But a large chunk of that success came playing wing on a line centered by Zetterberg, who “took a lot of the responsibility off Dylan,” according to Holland.
The for/against debate here is pretty straightforward.
Holland said the “long-term” plan is to have Larkin be a center in Detroit, so why not get that process underway now? That move, combined with the addition of Frans Nielsen, would allow Zetterberg to return to the wing (and potentially play alongside Nielsen.) The more options head coach Jeff Blashill has at his disposal, the more creative he can get at forward.
But would it be too much, too soon for Larkin?
There’s already the looming specter of a sophomore slump, and it’s important to remember he faded down the stretch last season, as the rigors of a full NHL campaign took their toll. He was largely shielded from faceoff duty (and still finished at just 41 percent), only turned 20 just over three weeks ago, and Blashill could go Zetterberg-Nielsen-Luke Glendening–Riley Sheahan down the middle quite easily.
As per usual, we now turn it over to you. Vote away: