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Hockey Round Up: December 10th-17th

Two weeks in a row!

Chicago Blackhawks Fans

 

1) Let’s get the blood pumping with a big hit and a few fights

Pres blogged this earlier in the week, but it deserved another look. Huge, but clean hit and a little dust up afterwards. That’s good hockey right there.

One more time. Take it away, Nelly.

 

We talked about this a little bit recently, but there’s an uptick of star players fighting. Well he had another one this week. David Backes fought Jamie Benn on Dec 12th.

These guys are both throwbacks. Two tough customers who will throw on occasion. They’ve even fought each other before. So I’m not sure if it’s a good example of stars/captains fighting, but its entertaining nonetheless.

One thing we need to get rid of is the staged fight. This was really a disgusting and pointless display

 

2) Saves of the week

Jonathan Quick and the Kings look like a runaway train in the Pacific Division. They’re back to themselves. Which sucks as a Hawks fan, but whatever. Quick had a 45 save shutout in Montreal last night including this one that looks unpleasant

Martin Jones with that strong push against Montreal too

Kari Ramo with a ridiculous glove save against Dallas

Calgary is starting to put it together a little bit after a slow start. Luckily for them the Pacific is dog shit and they’re sitting in a playoff spot at the moment.

I wanted to include the Steve Mason save from last night, but I couldn’t find it in GIF/Vine form. That’s on you, Philly fans.

3) RUMORS

rumors

Stamkos– As a general rule of thumb, I don’t believe anything until Bob McKenzie says it. Well Uncle Bob wrote like 1000 words about how he believes Stamkos won’t be in Tampa next year.

Steven Stamkos won’t be playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning next season.

I can’t say that ?unequivocally, with 100 per cent, dead-set certainty, because, you know, never say never, there’s always a chance, blah blah blah…

Stamkos and the Lightning aren’t even holding hands.  ?Absent a lightning bolt out of the blue, they’re not going to either.–Bob McKenzie

I can’t remember the last time a star franchise type player was traded like this. It simply doesn’t happen that often anymore. Teams seem to lock up their stars long before they reach UFA status. In this situation though, trading Stamkos might actually be the best move for Tampa Bay. Right now the Lightning are a Cap team and have a TON of players that need new deals in the next two summers. Most importantly Tyler Johnson and Victor Hedman, but also guys like Palat, Kucherov, and Drouin. The Bolts have had a terrible run of injuries this year and are currently sitting on the outside of the playoff picture. Tampa’s problem is that they have a several guys who are over paid. Callahan, Filppula, Matt Carle, and Jason Garrison all have bloated contracts. If I’m Steve Yzerman, I’m throwing this season in the trash. Try to Stamkos, your veteran D, and even Ben Bishop if you believe Andrei Vasilevskiy is the future and then do a quick rebuild around the triplets, Hedman, and the treasure trove you get in return for Stamkos. The next 6 months will be tough to stomach, but they could be a contender again quickly if they’re proactive.

So then the question becomes where does Stamkos end up? There’s been a lot of talk about Toronto because of all the tweet favoriting and weird social shit by Stamkos. And also because Toronto always thinks they’re getting everyone.

99 TML

Gun to my head I think Stamkos ends up in Detroit. They have an interesting group of young forwards that could be sent back to TB and a pretty healthy cap situation. The Illitch family always seems to be willing to spend, and they probably want to win some headlines with a sparkling new arena set to open soon.

Kopitar– Pierre Lebrun is reporting that the Kings and Kopitar are close on a deal. Reported figures are 8 years with an AAV of $9.75M. I love Kopitar. He’s right there in that class with Toews and Bergeron. I don’t think its a coincidence that those three have won the last 6 Stanley Cups. Big number, but comes in slightly lower than the Toews+Kane figure. Feels like maybe even a bit of a hometown discount.

Ryan Johansen– The rumor mill is heating up and the marriage with Tortarella doesn’t seem to be working out. Johansen looked like the next great star center 2 years ago when the Blue Jackets made the playoffs and he scored 30 goals. Fast-forward to last night and he was a healthy scratch. It seems like Johansen never really wanted to be in CBJ anyways. Even signing the bridge deal, which keeps him in Columbus through next season, was like pulling teeth.

Ladd/Byfuglien/Trouba– According to a report by Tim Campbell, Ladd has asked for 6 years and $41M, Buff wants 8 years and $55M, and Trouba asked for $56M over 8 years. It’s an interesting situation for Winnipeg because right now those are their three most important players and the team has a nice crop of young talent to go around those guys. The Jets also have the lowest pay roll in the league. They could hypothetically fit those three contracts under the cap. Not sure if ownership can afford that though or if they’re comfortable giving long term deals to two guys over 30. Winnipeg isn’t exactly the most attractive destination for free agents. It might be better for them to just pay the guys they have, rather than compete for potential UFAs on the open market.

 

4) World Juniors Tournament Starts Next Week:  This is a bit of a PSA. Watch this tournament and watch Auston Matthews. He’s projected to go 1st overall in the draft next year. Here’s his highlight package from the tournament last year.

Tournament TV Schedule

WJC schedule

 

I might do a little tournament preview next week as well as picking games.

5) Goals of The Week

9 year-old cancer survivor at the Hawks shoot the puck

Shayne Gostisbehere doing his OT thing

Klingberg with the stretch and Seguin with a little pump

Some weeks are scorer weeks, and some are goalie weeks. This was a goalie week. I couldn’t find a lot of great goals.

 

6) Power Rankings

1. LA Kings– The Kings have their mojo back. Playing really well on the road and 7-1-2 in their last 10 overall. They look like a lock for the Western Conference Finals if they stay healthy.

Darryl Sutter

2. Dallas Stars– They’ve sputtered a little bit in December, but Dallas still leads the league in the standings and style points. 6-2-2 in their past 10 and have yet to have a losing streak this season.

3. Washington Capitals– The Caps are playing great hockey right now and the same can’t be said for the other supposed Eastern Conference contenders, Montreal and the Rangers. The Caps are 8-1-1 in their last 10. I’m still not sold on them, but the East seems wide open. Maybe this is the year that Ovi gets out of the 2nd round.

Washington Capitals Fans

4. Chicago Blackhawks– They’re getting great goaltending and playing a good team game right now. Kane’s streak ended this week, but the Toews line is starting to heat up. A balanced attack is the best thing for the Hawks.

5. Minnesota Wild– The Wild are hot right now and ahead of Chicago in the standings, but the Hawks own them when it counts. Tie goes to the Champ.

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6. St Louis Blues– Chicago, Minnesota, and StL are all essentially tied. They will all be playoff teams. And in the playoffs, the Blues fold. That’s their thing. Minnesota is a better constructed team so they get the nod.

 

 

That’s it for this week. Thanks to everyone who sent in GIFs, Vines, tips. Especially @NHL_gif. Great follow during the games.

Merry Christmas ya filthy animals