2010 Stanley Cup finals: Choosing Leighton over Boucher (poll results)

1 Comment

You’re (probably) aware that the Philadelphia Flyers already made the decision to start Michael Leighton instead of Brian Boucher for what could be their last playoff game of 2009-10 tonight. So, on some level, the “drama” is gone from the debate – although the quiet pro-Boucher minority might come out of the woodwork if Leighton struggles.

Still, we decided to poll PHT readers to see if the hockey public agreed with the choice to make Leighton the starter. The results, as you can see below (click to enlarge), are staggeringly in favor of Leighton. Really, I’m impressed by just how huge the gulf is between the two goalies.

pollresultsflyersgame6.JPG

Now, let’s take a look at Leighton and Boucher’s stats, side-by-side.

First, Michael Leighton’s playoff production (via ESPN)

Leightonplayoffs.JPG

Next, Brian Boucher’s playoff production: (via ESPN as well)

BrianBoucherplayoffs.JPG

So Boucher played in 12 games and started 10 while Leighton played in 13 games and started 12.

My viewpoint of an “average” start is a save percentage of at least 90 percent. Boucher’s been over 90 percent in five games, with two shutouts and went 6-6 (although he received two losses during relief duty in the Stanley Cup finals, which seems kind of unfair). Leighton hit the 90-or-better mark in 8 games, with three shutouts and went 8-2.

Overall, I don’t think it’s that tough of a decision. Maybe it would be a little spicier if I took a “devil’s advocate” stance and said Boucher would be the starter, but I’ll leave that to someone else.

That’s not to take anything away from Boucher, though. If nothing else, Boucher showed that he has a place in the NHL and re-affirmed the fact he’s among the league’s most reliable backups. It’s pretty clear to me, though, that he should be just that tonight: a backup.

Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

“We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

“I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

blackhawks
Harry How/Getty Images
13 Comments

CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

Getty Images
3 Comments

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.