NBCSN wraps up a high-stakes doubleheader on Wednesday with a game that’s big for both teams: the St. Louis Blues at Anaheim Ducks.
As the second West wild card team with 77 points, the Blues have a nice edge on the Los Angeles Kings, especially with a schedule heavy on games against the conference’s lesser lights. Getting a point or more tonight would be another big step in making sure that Mike Yeo brings the Blues into the playoffs.
The Anaheim Ducks are currently ranked third in the Pacific, but their edge on first wild card team Edmonton is razor-thin. With just 82 standings points, the Blues aren’t that far away in their rear-view mirror, either.
All in all, it should be a good test for both teams. You can watch on NBCSN, online and via the NBC Sports App.
More than a few people wondered if Corey Crawford should have gotten a look from concussion spotters after taking a scary Shea Weber shot to the head/mask on Tuesday. A similar debate cropped up regarding Matt Murray tonight.
Now, it doesn’t seem as extreme – Murray took a wayward knee rather than a blistering shot, and seemed more shaken and less … wobbly, like Crawford appeared to be – yet it’s another situation to monitor.
And, speaking of monitoring the situation, is this a mere coincidence or should we wonder if the league’s concussion spotters are being more lenient with goalies staying on the ice? Maybe the moments were merely missed or the opportunity passed?
Murray staying in the game. Based on how he reacted, I’m surprised.
Crawford stayed in last night’s game and was a big reason why Chicago beat Montreal. Murray is keeping the Penguins in tonight’s contest against the Flyers, though Philly enters the third period with a 2-0 lead.
We’ll see if Murray starts the final frame for Pittsburgh, but so far, it looks like a dodged bullet.
Now, does that mean the NHL has something to discuss? Perhaps.
Video: McKenzie breaks down top college free agents, Hobey Baker race
That time of year when NCAA players start signing with NHL teams, and we’ve seen some of the dominoes fall already. Still, there are plenty of other interesting names out there, something NHL insider Bob McKenzie broke down for NBCSN on Wednesday.
In the video above, McKenzie discussed Charlie McAvoy, Clayton Keller, Colin White, Luke Kunin and Brock Boeser as recent first-round draft picks who could sign deals (with the timing hinging to some extent upon how their current NCAA teams perform).
He also discusses Alexander Kerfoot, an intriguing New Jersey Devils draft pick (150th overall in 2012) who could follow former Harvard teammate Jimmy Vesey‘s footsteps and decide to test the UFA market come Aug. 15. That said, McKenzie notes that there’s also more of a chance that Kerfoot would sign with the Devils than there was with Vesey and the Predators.
If that’s not enough, McKenzie discusses more NCAA hockey by breaking down the Hockey Baker finalists in the video below.
Hey, who said you needed to stop thinking up hypothetical scenarios about your team getting better once the trade deadline passed? Enjoy.
Caps’ Orpik understands ‘there’s only so much ice time to go around’
The Washington Capitals already possessed a pretty deep defense before they traded for big-ticket blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk. With that addition, it’s meant that Brooks Orpik hasn’t been a guarantee to make it into the lineup.
“I think you’ve got to realize that there’s only so much ice time to go around,” Orpik said. ” … It’s easy for everybody to say their main goal is to win the Stanley Cup. Well, times like this are really good tests to show if that really is important to guys, or if individual accomplishments or minutes are more important. I think that’s how you look at it.”
The Washington Post piece delves into things that tend to make judging Orpik a divisive topic: the numbers.
No, in this case it isn’t about his cap number, but instead possession stats that once shone a negative light on the hard-hitting blueliner. As it turns out, he’s actually been effective, albeit with the reduced expectations that come with being a third pairing guy.
The fun stuff comes in the way Orpik and Barry Trotz discuss his value and the value of stats.
Trotz notes that “sometimes the numbers guys don’t really play the game and don’t understand” certain intangibles. Orpik really takes the cake, however, in describing debates as “traditional people versus more futuristic people or whatever.”
You know, with “fancy stats” feeling a little long in the tooth these days, “futuristic people” has a nice ring to it. You can almost picture people scoring their latest graphical analyses to Daft Punk.
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