Tag: compare and contrast

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Matt Carkner #39 of the Ottawa Senators and Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers are at the bottom of the pile in this first period battle in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Matt Carkner will miss a game for fighting Brian Boyle


Just moments ago, the New York Rangers lost valuable winger Carl Hagelin for three games – the most severe suspension of the 2012 season – for elbowing Daniel Alfredsson. With that in mind, Rangers fans might not be especially happy that Ottawa Senators tough guy Matt Carkner received a single game suspension for beating the daylights out of Brian Boyle.

(Slow motion doesn’t do Carkner many favors, does it?)

I’ll be honest; I’m not totally sure that the NHL’s developing an intelligible pattern with its disciplinary decisions. Does this punishment seem fair to you? Did Carkner deserve more games, no suspension or was this A-OK? How about if you look at it without thinking about Hagelin’s punishment, if possible? Share your observations in the comments.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson: the next Erik Karlsson?

Phoenix Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings
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Judging by the fact that he currently has a point-per-game, there’s really only one defenseman quite like Ottawa Senators star Erik Karlsson. (In fact, there are just six forwards who have more points than his 70 this season.)

Still, the NHL is brimming with young talent and former general manager Brian Lawton pegs Phoenix Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson as just a season behind the Senators stud.


Interesting thought, but how does that comment stack up? Let’s look at some of the similarities between the two:

  • They’re both Swedish (and their last names end in -sson, which is super-relevant, I know).
  • Each guy was drafted in the first round. Backing up Lawton, Karlsson was selected 15th overall in 2008 (and is 21 years old) while the Coyotes tabbed the 20-year-old Ekman-Larsson at No. 6 in 2009.
  • Strong sophomore seasons: after partial rookie seasons, both played well in their second (and first full) campaigns. OEL is at 28 points while Karlsson finished with 45, although Ekman-Larsson’s -1 rating is more palatable than Karlsson’s -30 from 2010-11. (Naturally the two situations aren’t the same, which is why plus/minus is a shaky stat.)

Sure, there are some differences – most obviously, Karlsson has a right-handed shot while OEL shoots with his left – but Lawton doesn’t seem out of his mind or making the comparison.

Ekman-Larsson may struggle to flirt with Karlsson’s crazy numbers in a less wide-open system in Phoenix, yet it seems like there are some intriguing similarities between the two players’ paths. What do you think – is OEL on his way to becoming a star close to Karlsson’s scale?

(Either way, the Coyotes and Senators must be delighted to have stars who are so bright at such a young age.)

Comparing current Rangers to the Cup-winning ’94 version


NBC Sports Talk posed an interesting question last night: how do current New York Rangers compare to the Stanley Cup-winning 1993-94 version? Before PHT goes a little deeper with this, here’s the video of that discussion.

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(Henrik Lundqvist isn’t a money goalie? I dunno … he did kinda win a gold medal in one of the few instances in which he had a truly elite team in front of him. Just saying.)

Anyway, that video touched on Mark Messier and intangible type stuff, but I thought it would be more fun to take a quick-and-dirty comparison between the two.

source: AP1993-94 New York Rangers

Record: 52-24-8 for 112 points; first overall in the Atlantic Division; Goals For: 299 (fourth overall); Goals Against: 231 (third overall); PP%: 23.02 (96 goals); PK%: 84.6 (67 allowed); 20 shorthanded goals for, five against

Leading scorers: Sergei Zubov (89 points), Mark Messier (84), Adam Graves and Brian Leetch (79)

Goalies: Mike Richter (42-11-6 in 68 GP; .910 save percentage and 2.57 GAA with five shutouts) and Glenn Healy (10-12-2 for .878 save percentage, 3.03 GAA and two shutouts)

To help correct for the different scoring paces of the times, Richter’s save percentage was eight overall, his GAA ranked fifth among goalies and he was an All-Star in 93-94.

2011-12 New York Rangers

source: APRecord: 37-13-5 for 79 points; first overall in Atlantic Division; Goals For: 156 (12th overall); Goals Against: 110 (first overall); PP%: 14.81 (28); PK%: 87.15 (23); seven shorthanded goals for and three against

Leading scorers: Marian Gaborik (49), Ryan Callahan (42), Brad Richards (39) and Derek Stepan (37).

Goalies: Henrik Lundqvist (27-11-4 with a .941 save percentage, 1.77 GAA and seven shutouts) and Martin Biron (10-2-1 with a .919 save percentage with a 2.03 GAA and two shutouts).

Similarities: The teams certainly share some common traits. The ’94 Rangers had a coach who liked to yell at people (Mike Keenan) and the current version certainly does (John Tortorella). Both teams have an All-Star goalie and fairly balanced scoring, without having anyone who threatened for the Art Ross Trophy. Oh yeah, the current Rangers are sitting atop the Atlantic Division, which the 1994 ones won.

Differences: That doesn’t mean there aren’t big differences, though. As you can see from Zubov and Leetch being in the team’s top four scorers, the old version produced a lot more points from the blueline. (Not to say that Mike del Zotto is chopped liver offensively, but the gap is glaring.)

The current team also isn’t quite as balanced, but the biggest difference might be in special teams. The 2011-12 team’s power play is pretty punch-less while the older one was strong, especially in scoring an impressive 20 shorties to just five allowed.

Captains: Finally, both teams have a heart-and-soul captain, although one’s more famous and the other has quite a bit more hair.


Overall, I think there are some interesting parallels, but the current Rangers might be a few strides behind. (Unless they nab Rick Nash and become a more potent offensive team, perhaps.)

Is this Evgeni Malkin’s best work yet?

Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin is one of the league’s most irresistible forces right now – even back-to-back games can’t slow him down for good.

After scoring the last two goals in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ big win against the New York Rangers on Thursday, Geno erupted in the third period to help his team overcome a 4-2 deficit against the Montreal Canadiens. Malkin scored the game-tying goal on a laser beam of a shot and then collected the shootout winner as Pittsburgh topped the Habs 5-4 (SO).

Tonight’s goal ups Malkin’s league-leading points total to 55, which is especially impressive because he’s played in just 40 games. (Current runner-up Henrik Sedin has 52 points in 47 contests.) You can break up Geno’s recent work into scary-good chunks, but I’d say going back to Nov. 20 is a solid idea:

Malkin in the last 27 games: 20 goals, 21 assists for 41 points with a +10 rating and 132 shots on goal. Most recently, Malkin has eight goals and 10 points in his last six contests.

That’s some ridiculous stuff, prompting onlookers to boast about his swagger and forcing me to wonder: where does this rank with the gifted center’s all-time best work?

source: API asked folks on Twitter how “2011-12 Malkin compares to Art Ross Malkin” and those who responded ranked his best runs in an interesting way.

1. “Conn Smythe Malkin.”
2. “Current Malkin.”
3. “Art Ross Malkin.”

Malkin earned the Art Ross and Conn Smythe in the same world-beating 2008-09 season, but for the sake of fun, let’s look at those “three Malkins” through the simplest of stats.

“Current Malkin”: 40 Games Played: 25 goals, 30 assists for 55 points (1.375 per game)
“Art Ross Malkin”: 82 GP: 35 goals, 78 assists for 113 points (1.378 per game)
“Conn Smythe Malkin”: 24 GP: 14 goals, 22 assists for 36 points (1.5 points per game)

Seriously, Malkin scored 1.5 points per game in the playoffs that year.

Looking at the numbers, it’s clear that Malkin is approaching the level that some worried he’d never reach again after he struggled a bit with fatigue and injuries 2009-10 and 2010-11. Then again, context – minus Sidney Crosby, plus James Neal – could prompt some to believe that he’s at a new level of excellence.

However his work stacks up to his greatest hits, most hockey fans have been delighted to watch Malkin return to his superhuman form of old – unless he’s rumbling down the ice against their own team.

Report indicates little progress between Brad Marchand, Bruins; Should Tyler Ennis be watching?

Boston Bruins Victory Parade

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa reports that “only crickets are being heard” when it comes to Brad Marchand’s contract negotiations with the Boston Bruins.

While that might seem like a bad joke for Bruins fans, the fact of the matter is that the team has about $7.6 million in cap space to cover three roster spots (including – presumably – Marchand’s). In other words, it’ll probably just come down to a compromise on money, duration of the contract or some combination of those two factors. It’s hard to fathom a situation in which Marchand isn’t harassing opponents and occasionally filling up the opposition’s net in a Bruins uniform in 2011-12.

What might be the most interesting part of Shinzawa’s brief discussion of Marchand’s contract talks was the player who Shinzawa believes may be watching those negotiations most closely: Buffalo Sabres forward Tyler Ennis. Shinzawa thinks that Ennis could ask for a similar amount of money to what Marchand receives next summer – and Ennis might be able to tack on a “premium” price if he has a strong season in 11-12.

Ennis, the No. 26 pick of the 2008 draft, will be in Marchand’s position in one year: restricted with no arbitration rights. Through his first two pro seasons, Ennis has been a Marchand comparable. In 2009-10, Ennis, as a first-year pro, had three goals and six assists in 10 NHL games. Last year, Ennis punched in 20 goals and 29 assists for 49 points, 8 more than Marchand (21-20-41). If Ennis submits even better numbers this year, the undersized Buffalo forward could be looking at a premium on whatever Marchand scores from the Bruins.

source: Getty ImagesRe-signing Ennis might be a bit of a challenge for the Buffalo Sabres next summer, especially since he will be joined by restricted free agent defensemen Tyler Myers and Marc-Andre Gragnani. There is, however, a small problem with the Ennis-Marchand comparison: they make very different impacts on games on nights when they fail to score.

For one thing, Marchand brings an agitating role that rubs opponents the wrong way more often than it hurts his own team – at least last season. On the other hand, Ennis frustrates opponents with his craftiness, imagination and offensive skill.

Marchand also spent time on the Bruins’ penalty kill, while Ennis’ shorthanded time was negligible last season – another indication that Marchand’s influence extends beyond box scores.

Marchand: 1:20 shorthanded minutes out of 16:46 total minutes per game in the playoffs; 1:34 in 13:59 per game in regular season.

Ennis: one second of shorthanded time out of 16:38 total minutes per game in the playoffs; two seconds in 15:40 per game in regular season.

If Ennis’ agent is savvy, he’ll make the focus merely about points scored and argue that Ennis deserves just as much money – if not more – than anything Marchand will receive. Yet if the Sabres dig a little deeper, they can counter that Ennis played easier minutes than his supposed comparable.

Either way, I’d expect Marchand to be with the Bruins and Ennis to play for the Sabres for quite some time, unless something drastic happens in either case. It just seems like Ennis-Marchand is an apples-to-oranges comparison, unless points end up being your only barometer.

(H/T to The Sporting News.)