Ramblings: Marleau s record; Domi s scratch; Keller s season; Rossi s problems - April 20 - dobberhockey.com
|dobberhockey.com 20 Apr 2021 at 08:53|
Patrick Marleau broke the record for most games played in the NHL, previously held by Gordie Howe, with 1768. Now, Marleau is just going to add games between here and the end of the season.
Marleau is on his way to the Hall of Fame and this is a great way to cap off what will probably be his last year in the NHL. All congrats to him, his family, and everyone that helped him out on the way. When including playoffs and exhibition, Marleau will be around 2000 NHL games for his entire career. That is almost unfathomable. A great player and, by all accounts, a great person. Kudos to Marleau.
Max Domi was a healthy scratch Monday night after his 2+10 on the weekend. That wasn t the entirety, of it this seems to be something that has been brewing for a while but s come to the forefront now and Domi is on the sidelines.
This isn t surprising in any regard. Columbus has fallen out of the playoff race, there are a bunch of injuries, and the team is just bad in most respects. Someone was going to take the brunt of Tortorella s frustration, and it happens to be the guy playing undisciplined hockey. It happens.
What I found interesting was this video from Nick Foligno chatting about Tortorella and Laine after his trade to Toronto:
Nick Foligno when asked about playing for John Tortorella and if Patrik Laine can "survive in Columbus" #CBJ pic.twitter.com/jGYDzBmBlx
There is some good stuff in there. Basically, it was Foligno talking about how Torts constantly is harping on and challenging guys to improve their game in different respects. He admits it can be hard on some players but those who follow Torts s model are going to become his favourites.
I think this is both good and bad, honestly. It is good in a sense that every player knows exactly what s expected of them. At the least, the players cannot say they don t know what Torts wants from them. That is a step in the right direction.
On the flipside, however, is forcing players to conform to one archetype: the lunch-pail/work-boots-type of players. Different people respond to different incentives; we have millennia of human history to back us up on that. So, finding ways to motivate players, or get the most out of players, outside of your traditional rah-rah-mess- em-up speech, is critical. That is especially true in a professional sport setting where someone like Laine isn t replaceable.
I do like Torts as a coach more than most, for as much as I make fun of him, I think. That doesn t mean there aren t ways he can t improve, and the franchise s best offensive player s future might hinge on that.
It has been a little over a month since the Sabres fired Ralph Krueger. In that span, they re sitting at a 45 percent expected goal share as a team at 5-on-5. That isn t great, and it might surprise people that that isn t really an improvement for them, considering their respective records in different parts of the season. In the month prior to that stretch, they went 2-13-2 with a 44.6 percent expected goal share. This recent stretch has seen them go 6-7-3 with that 45 percent expected goal share.
The thing is, I think this recent stretch is impressive because of all the prior losses. Remember that this is a team that has been without Jack Eichel for six weeks now, saw Taylor Hall play his last game on April 3rd, and has gone through the general upheaval all over the team. That is what makes this stretch so impressive. No, their underlying numbers haven t improved drastically, but the fact they haven t gotten considerably worse after losing so many key parts and having so much turmoil is a credit to this team and Dan Granato.
Whether he puts it all together is another story. We need to remember he s still just 23, he s 6 5", and won t even have two full seasons in the NHL by the end of this year. I had hopes that he could turn into Anthony Mantha but Mantha had proven himself in the NHL by this age. At this point, if he can be an Ilya Mikheyev -type, I think that would be a win. There is still something there, I truly believe that. Again, as mentioned, it s whether he puts it all together. Next year should be a much better gauge.
How about the season Clayton Keller is having? He would be on pace for over 20 goals and 57 points in a full year, which is fairly remarkable considering Arizona is scoring less than Ottawa and Los Angeles this year. His offensive play-driving is nearly off the charts as well:
When looking at his impact on teammates over at HockeyViz , every single player has been better offensively when playing with Keller than without him. It really has been a remarkable year.
This is a big development for Arizona as Keller finally looks like the $7M player they think he is. Now, they just need to develop more players. Give it a couple years.
How about Craig Smith ? Over the last month, he leads all forwards in points per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 at 4.36. The curious thing is that over that span, he has 12 assists in 16 games. He has never really been known for being a playmaker, having never posted a 30-assist season and posting fewer than 20 in four of his five prior seasons. In fact, this stretch of 12 assists in 16 games almost equals his playmaking output from last year (13) in 69 games.
If you are a Craig Smith owner and still able to make trades, now is the time to trade. The team is shooting 14.4 percent with him on the ice in those 16 games, with no other player above 11.2 percent. That is going to come down and the production will crash. He can t keep producing over a point per game while skating 13 minutes a night like he has over his last five games. An incredible stretch for him, but this will come to an end soon.
I am still holding out hope that David Pastrnak moves to a line with Taylor Hall but Smith s play has thrown a wrench in those plans. It doesn t seem smart to break up Boston s lines at the moment, so we ll probably just get more of the same. C est la vie.
Sometimes I can t help but wonder how Minnesota s season would have gone with Marco Rossi. Remember, he contracted COVID before the World Juniors, got that caught in a medical with the Wild, and hasn t played all year. Not only is it a reminder that this is a virus that can debilitate the healthiest 20-year olds, but it s a reminder that a key weapon has been missing from the Wild s arsenal all year.
[Note: I wrote this on Monday afternoon and then Monday at suppertime an article came out about how Rossi, at times, feared his heart was going to stop while he was battling COVID symptoms. Seems like an important detail I shouldn t omit.]
Now, that is a bit of conjecture, of course. We have no idea whether Rossi would have made a big impact or not. We can surmise he would have, but we don t know. Though I can t help but wonder what could have been if the team was able to run Kaprizov-Rossi-Zuccarello against depth matchups. Could they have been even better?
Jakub Vrana was a scratch for Detroit with a non-COVID illness. That it doesn t seem he ll miss much time is good news for Vrana, the Wings, and fantasy owners. He had played well over 16 minutes in his first two games, a little taste of the ice time that could come his way when healthy.
Frank Vatrano scored his 16th and 17th of the season while Sam Bennett scored his first in a Panthers uniform to help the Panthers to a 4-2 win. Anthony Duclair had a great fantasy night with two assists, a plus-2 rating, a couple of shots, and a pair of hits.
For Vatrano, that makes 62 goals in 212 games as a Panther, which works out to 24 goals every 82 games. While his hit rates haven t been as big this year as in prior years, I think fantasy owners will trade 20 hits for five or six goals. He is also well over 2.7 shots per game. It really is nice to see a guy who just needed a consistent chance to finally succeed.
Yanni Gourde scored in overtime to lift Tampa Bay to a 3-2 win over Carolina. It was a thrilling game between two of the best teams in the league. The Bolts are a bit short-handed of course, but it s a tantalizing preview of a possible playoff matchup.
Gourde also played over 20 minutes, the only Tampa forward to do so. With the injuries the team has, he could have a nice final few weeks of the season.