The Half-Way NHL Round Up

Chicago Blackhawks Fans

1) Podcast with Brandon Pirri 

Trying to deliver more unique hockey content for the Stoolies. If you clicked on this blog, I think you’ll like the podcasts. Pirri came on this week and talked about his time in college, the AHL, what it’s like playing pro hockey in South Florida, and gives some insight to the locker room dynamic of the Florida Panthers. In the 2nd half of the season we are hopefully going to do two episodes a week and then maybe a nightly recap during the playoffs.

Now that the shameless promotion is part of the blog is over and you all clicked on the link…

2) Best Goals of the 1st Half Of The Season

This goal is everything that makes Jack Eichel special. Great work ethic to battle back and win the puck, speed to get there, strength to keep the defender off of him and a ridiculous snipe to finish. This was a Peter Forsberg type goal and I can’t give a better compliment than that

Bobby Ryan with the pick pocket goal and silky finish.

Classic Ovi. The best pure goal-scorer I’ve ever seen.

When Malkin is right, he’s a top 3 player in the game.

1 on 3, nbd.

There were too many Kane and Panarin goals to pick just one, so here’s all of them


3) Mid-Season Awards In no  particular order, but these are my top guys heading down the stretch.

Hart Trophy– I’m going to give a top three for the other awards, but Patrick Kane is the runaway winner for the Hart Trophy this season. Best season of his career and there’s a huge gap between 88 and the other league leaders. He also doesn’t get enough credit for how good he is defensively.

Norris Trophy–

Victor Hedman. The last playoffs were his coming out party and he had a MAJOR impact in the Stanley Cup Final. He still doesn’t get enough love because 1) he plays in Tampa and 2) the Lightning have struggled this year as they’ve dealt with injuries and off-ice drama. The one guy they can count on night in, and night out has been Hedman. He’s been a rock. Solid point production and one of the league leaders in advanced metrics. He plays important minutes in all situations. The Lightning manage his ice-time pretty well so he doesn’t log crazy minutes like some other top D, but the Lightning are likely DEAD if it wasn’t for Hedman this year.

Drew Doughty. Doughty normally doesn’t turn his game on until the playoffs when he becomes superman, but he’s been great all year. Another defenseman that is elite at both ends of the ice.

Erik Karlsson. You can’t ignore a defenseman that is getting better than a point per game. Karlsson is also better in his own end than he used to be. The Senators don’t really play much team defense at all, but individually Karlsson has definitely taken a step.

Vezina Trophy–

Corey Crawford. Oh Chief you homer! Shut up. Crawford has been awesome this year. League leader in shutouts with 7. His sv% is .001 off the league lead at .931. Other than Patrick Kane, Crawford has been the Hawks best player.

Braden Holtby. He’s a stud and probably covers more defensive warts than Caps fans would like to admit. A truly elite goalie. By far the best the Caps have had in the Ovi era.

Cory Schneider. Another guy having a monster year that flies under the radar because he plays for a budget team. Schneider has the Devils in playoff contention. If they make the playoffs he should get some Hart votes as well.

4) Mailbag Questions


How much faith do you have left in Teravainen? Seems like he’s been a disappointment.– Matt B

I’ve been hard on Teravainen this year, but he’s been better in recent weeks. I expected him to carry the load for the 3rd line this year and put up 50 points. He won’t reach 50 points unless he gets really hot down the stretch, but he’s contributing in other ways. He plays on the powerplay and the PK. It’s tough to say he’s been a disappointment. Guy is still so young. The Hawks will need him to produce at a higher rate in the playoffs if they’re gonna win the Cup again though.

Where is Mrazek in your goalie rankings…feel like he’s at least top 6 now.–Kevin McLean

Mrazek is right there. I’d put the three guys I had in the Vezina rankings ahead of him. Then there’s a group with guys like Luongo, Mrazek, Quick. I feel like we’ve been hearing about Mrazek forever, but he’s only 23 years old. The Wings are in a tough spot because they’re paying Jimmy Howard a ton of money to sit on the bench and Mrazek is a RFA this summer.

You see the Devils trading for another top 6 forward this year or shero staying status quo and waiting til offseason for something? And odds my Devils make the playoffs this year?

If I were a Devils fan I would not want them to buyers at the deadline. The team isn’t close to winning the Cup, so giving up picks and assets(which they don’t have much outside of Zacha and Blackwood) for a deadline guy doesn’t make a lot of sense to me unless they want to take a flyer on Drouin. I would actually say that the Devils should be sellers at the deadline because they have so many veterans in expiring contracts. See what you can get for Ruutu, Stempniak, Gionta, and continue on this rebuild path. I don’t think they have enough to get in the playoffs. Currently tied with Pittsburgh for the last spot, but Carolina, Montreal, Philly, and Ottawa are all right there.

Let’s say Lundqvist never wins a Cup where does he rank on All time Goalies?–Steve A

I think he’s Dan Marino. One of the all-time best, but definitely has a hole is his resume so he can’t be on the same level as Roy and Brodeur.

Mailbag Question: teams you see as good trade partners for Loui and what he’ll bring back in return–Brandon Cahill

The Bruins are stuck. If the Bs want to make the playoffs, then they need to make a hockey trade to get rid of Loui Erickson. That really limits their trade partners. I don’t think they’ll find a good deal for him.

power rankings

Power Rankings

1. Capitals–Easily the best team in the East. If Ovi and the Caps don’t get to the Stanley Cup Final this year its never going to happen.

2. Blackhawks– 2nd most points in the NHL and basically rolling over everyone since Duncan Keith came back. Could probably use a couple little moves to bolster the


3. LA Kings– Scary team. Beating up on the weakest division in the game. Probably have a bye all the way to the Western Conference Finals

4. Dallas Stars– Came back to earth after a hot start. They play fast, but don’t have the depth, team defense, or goaltending to win the Cup.

5. Florida Panthers–Maybe Pirri got in my head, but if Luongo has it going in the playoffs then they can beat anyone in the Atlantic.